The term “Kwanzaa” comes from the Swahili phrase “matunda ya kwanza,” which translates to “first fruits.” Celebrated from Dec. 26 through Jan. 1 each year,  Kwanzaa recognizes the significance of African heritage, family and community.

The week of cultural festivities is organized around the seven principles, Umoja (Unity), Kujichagulia (Self-determination), Ujima (Collective work and responsibility), Ujamaa (Cooperative economics), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba (Creativity) and Imani (Faith).

During the celebration of Kwanzaa, there are a variety of inspirational quotes and prayers that can be exchanged with others. Consider sharing these quotes from AZQuotes and Famous Quotes and Quotations:

  • “For Africa to me... is more than a glamorous fact. It is a historical truth. No man can know where he is going unless he knows exactly where he has been and exactly how he arrived at his present place.” - Maya Angelou
  • “The seven principles of Kwanzaa -- unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith -- teach us that when we come together to strengthen our families and communities and honor the lesson of the past, we can face the future with joy and optimism.” -President Bill Clinton
  • “The [Kwanzaa] holiday, then will of necessity, be engaged as an ancient and living cultural tradition which reflects the best of African thought and practice in its reaffirmation of the dignity of the human person in community and culture, the well-being of family and community, the integrity of the environment and our kinship with it, and the rich resource and meaning of a people’s culture.” - Maulana Karenga
  • “We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value no matter what their color.” - Maya Angelou
  • “Do what you do. This Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Year’s Eve, Twelfth Night, Valentine’s Day, Mardi Gras, St. Paddy’s Day, and every day henceforth. Just do what you do. Live out your life and your traditions on your own terms. If it offends others, so be it. That’s their problem.” - Chris Rose
  • “Our children need the sense of specialness that comes from participating in a known and loved ritual. They need the mastery of self-discipline that comes from order. They need the self-awareness that comes from a knowledge of their past. They need Kwanzaa as a tool for building their future and our own.” - Jessica Harris
  • “Kwanzaa is a holiday that should be celebrated by everyone, not just the black community.” - Jacqui Lewis

Consider exchanging these seasonal blessings associated with Kwanzaa:  

  • “From Umoja to Imani, may all the blessings of Kwanzaa be yours.”
  • “May peace, love, and unity bring a happy Kwanzaa to you.”
  • “May you enter the New Year with all the promises the Nguzo Saba hold!”

Here is a prayer you can recite in church during Kwanzaa:

Forgive us for taking our many blessings for granted.

Pardon us for abusing and exploiting your creation.

We are not responsible stewards; our consumerism & materialism hinder us

Merciful God, your creation groans for liberation.

Let us be “the first fruits” of your Spirit for a hurting world.

Help us to transform our bombs into bread, our bullets into books.