What Day Does Kwanzaa Fall?

The meaning and history of Kwanzaa


When is Kwanzaa each year? Find out dates for this wonderful holiday!

University of Maryland Eastern Shore


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What day does Kwanzaa fall on in 2016? See our chart—and learn about the origins and history of Kwanzaa.

Kwanzaa History

For seven days beginning on December 26 and lasting through January 1, African Americans celebrate Kwanzaa, a relatively new holiday introduced in 1966 and named for the time of year when African tribes traditionally celebrated the first harvest of their crops. On October 22, 1997, the Kwanzaa U.S. postage stamp was first issued. Synthia Saint James did the artwork.

First Day of Kwanzaa 2016

Year First Day of Kwanzaa
2016 Monday, December 26
2017 Tuesday, December 26
2018 Wednesday, December 26

Celebrating Kwanzaa

During Kwanzaa, people decorate their homes with straw mats, ears of corn, and a candleholder called a kinara. They light a candle in the home each evening and may exchange homemade gifts. The seven-day celebration ends with a feast, usually held at a community center and featuring music and dancing. This spiritual holiday focuses on seven basic principles: unity (umoja), self-determination (kujichagulia), collective work and responsibility (ujima), cooperative economics (ujamaa), purpose (nia), creativity (kuumba), and faith (imani).

Do you plan to celebrate with a feast? Check out our Kwanzaa Stew recipe page.

If you observe Kwanzaa, please share your traditions below!

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Reader Comments

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Kool! We White Anglo-Saxon

Kool! We White Anglo-Saxon Protestants have our own Winterfest too; it's called WASP WINTERFEST or WASPYFEST for short. It is a relatively new holiday introduced in 2013 and is a work in progress, but its main goal is to provide White Anglo-Saxon Protestants the opportunity to reclaim and enjoy their own ethnic heritage, without guilt, shame, blame or recriminations (or labels of "racism" and such). Just a fun time to enjoy the Wintry days and bask in our Northern European heritage.

HAPPY WASPYFEST, to all our Northern Kin-folk!

Sounds a bit redundant to me.

Sounds a bit redundant to me. The sarcasm is also not lost on me.
A Merry Christmas to you too!

I agree. Exactly the type of

I agree. Exactly the type of person I would not want representing me and my race. I treasure other's cultures and enjoy learning about them - not shutting them out. I hope that I am part of the solution vs. being a part of the problem called bigotry or racism.

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