Kwanzaa is a unique African-American holiday celebrated by millions of families every year between December 26 and January 1. The word kwanzaa
comes from the African language Swahili, and means "first fruits of the harvest."
Since ancient times, in countries all over Africa, families have joined together to celebrate the end of the harvest and the beginning of the new planting season. Today in the United States, families and friends gather together to commemorate the strength of family ties, respect for ancestors, commitment to the growth of the community, and gratitude for life's good. For each day of Kwanzaa, a new candle is lit in the seven-branched kinara, or candleholder. Gathering around it, children and adults share their thoughts, sing songs, tell stories from the past, and dream about the future. On the last day, with seven flames dancing, everyone gathers for a delicious feast of international foods. Then the party begins!