Why We Won’t Celebrate Kwanzaa

kwanzaa image

I feel like as a transracial/transcultural family we need to be made aware of everything that may pertain to our family.

The history of Kwanzaa had never crossed my mind until I saw in ad in a magazine for a kinara and other Kwanzaa related merchandise. I love celebrating almost anything…I assumed I would probably like Kwanzaa, too.

I thought I would look into this “Pan-African” holiday! Afterall, my favorite American Doll®, Addy, placed in the civil war era, celebrated Kwanzaa. There has to be some good historical background to this “holiday”…right?

Well, not really…

First, I realized none of my African friends were aware of Kwanzaa. However, the Official Kwanzaa Website says this: “Kwanzaa brings a cultural message which speaks to the best of what it means to be African and human in the fullest sense.” Hmm….

Here is a quote about the non-African origins of Kwanzaa by creator Dr. Maulana Karenga:

 “…I did not mean to suggest in any way that Kwanzaa was a continental African holiday rather than Afro-American one.  On the contrary.  I have always stressed that although Kwanzaa has some historical roots in Africa, it is essentially a product of the particular social conditions and self-determined needs of the Afro-American people.”

Kwanzaa: origin, concepts, practice. Dec. 1977:

There seems to be a little bit of confusion, for most Americans, in understanding the true origins of Kwanzaa. Everyone I’ve spoken with regarding the true roots of Kwanzaa believe the celebration was created from a true holiday originating from the continent of Africa. This is simply not so.

Okay, so it was created completely in America. So what?

I moved on and started researching why Kwanzaa was created. It seems to have been created as a sort of replacement for Christmas because it “gives Blacks an opportunity to celebrate themselves and history rather than simply imitate the practice of the dominant society.” -source

Kwanzaa had still not totally lost me; I went on to read Kwanzaa: A Celebration of Family, Community and Culture. As a Christian, reading the views on God put the nail in the proverbial coffin for me. It is not just a hint of anti-faith doctrine, that is pretty much the foundation of the secular festival. 

I think it is fine if people want to celebrate Kwanzaa, if it means celebrating unity, love, and whatever else it represents to you. I say go for it.

However, Brian and I feel Kwanzaa and its origins do not align with who we are as a family. So, we’re skipping this one.

I lieu of Kwanzaa we will be focusing on educating our children about and celebrating observed holidays in the continent of Africa as well as other cultures around the world. A GREAT source of information on this is kidworldcitizen.org.



On a weird side note: Creator of Kwanzaa, Maulana Karenga, is a convicted felon. He was convicted of torturing a woman with a hot iron.


  1. Loved this post. I hate Kwanzaa, too! Because it’s dumb. It’s the definition of politically correct nonsense. And does nothing to properly celebrate any culture.

  2. Thanks for this post. I didn’t know anything about Kwanza and made the same assumptions. I had no idea it was anti-religious.

  3. Langston Daniels

    Jesus christ the people who commented above are stupid as hell. You can’t decide whether or not Kwanzaa properly celebrates a CULTURE YOU ARE NOT A PART OF. Kwanzaa is not born of “politically correct nonsense.” it’s a celebration of Black love, unity, purpose, responsibility, creativity, and faith. it’s a celebration of our perseverance in the African struggle here in the United States. you people don’t understand anything that was not force fed into your mind since birth.

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