When is Kwanzaa 2019?

The meaning and history of Kwanzaa

March 7, 2019

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

University of Maryland Eastern Shore

When does Kwanzaa begin in 2019? 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 Dates

Year First Day of Kwanzaa
2019 Thursday, December 26
2020 Saturday, December 26
2021 Sunday, 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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