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Days of Significance : Kwanzaa

A Libguide provides further information on the Instagram Social Media posts and the cultural significance behind them


Kwanzaa is a cultural celebration of community, family, and culture. Kwanzaa colours are representatives of unity for the peoples of African descent worldwide. Black is for the people, red for the noble blood that unites people of African descent, and green for the rich land of Africa.

Research Articles

1. Kwanzaa and the commodification of black culture  

Commodification, in other words, is like embalming or mummifying a living thing. Black culture commodified similarly loses its organic edge--its authenticity, its purity, its originality, its spontaneity, its vibrancy, and most importantly its rootedness. 

2. Kwanzaa: The making of a black nationalist tradition, 1966-1990

Kwanzaa, a seven-day festival which begins on Dec 26, is one of the most lasting innovations of US black nationalism of the 1960s. Kwanzaa is designed to resemble the ritual at an African harvest festival.

3. Kwanzaa: The emergence of an African-American holiday 

The individual and communal factors behind the creation of the "new" African-American holiday are explored. 

4. Mainstreaming Kwanzaa

The issue of instituting a formal Kwanzaa celebration period in the US is addressed in detail. The event is a 7-day period where families of color come together to affirm their African-ness. 

5. KEITH A. MAYES. Kwanzaa: Black Power and the Making of the African-American Holiday Tradition. New York: Routledge. 2009. Pp. xxiv, 288.

In this book Keith A. Mayes defines Kwanzaa as “a hodgepodge of indigenous African practices placed inside a black American ritual framework” (p. 82). The “hodgepodge” origins of the Black Power holiday, which was invented by black cultural nationalist Maulana Karenga in December 1966, makes the phenomenal success of the seven‚Äźday tradition all the more astonishing. 

Books in the Library - Kwanzaa