Created in 1966 as the first specifically African-American holiday, Kwanzaa is celebrated from December 26th to January 1st. The name derives from the Swahili phrase "Matunda ya Kwanza", meaning first fruits of the harvest.

First envisioned as an opportunity for blacks to celebrate their culture and history, creator Dr. Maulana Karenga said his goal was to "give Blacks an alternative to the existing holiday, rather than simply imitate the practice of the dominant society."

However, as the celebration became more popular and mainstream amongst black Christians, many African-Americans added it to their Christmas celebrations.