Kwanzaa is celebrated around the world from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1 by millions of people of African descent.
The week-long holiday was developed by the American scholar and activist Maulana Karenga in 1966. Kwanzaa celebrates African family, community and culture.
Kwanzaa is based on African harvest celebrations, and the name comes from the Swahili for "first fruits of harvest." Kwanzaa is based on Nguzo Saba (seven guiding principles), one for each day of the observance and each symbolizing one aspect of African-American community development:
We," or "I am because We are."
Each night, one or more of seven candles arranged in a candleholder – one black, three red and three green – is lighted, and one of the seven principles is discussed.
Gifts such as books or heritage symbols relating to the history, culture or community of African-Americans are exchanged.
They are primarily given to children, but other family members can exchange gifts as well.
Taste of Kwanzaa
This recipe comes from Equatorial Guinea. West African pick-a-pepper soup is a spicy mix of three kinds of peppers.
1 1/2 cups water
1 pound red snapper fillet, or any white fish fillet, cut into bite-size pieces
3 medium onions, peeled and sliced
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeds removed, chopped
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Pinch dried rosemary
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil
1. Bring the water to a boil in a large pot over high heat.
2. Add all the ingredients except the oil.
3. Cover the pot and simmer over low heat for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. If broth cooks away and the soup starts to get thick and dry, add more water.
4. Add the oil and cook for 5 more minutes. Remove the bay leaf before serving. Serve hot. Makes 4 servings.
Seven nights of Kwanzaa