A Black family celebrates Kwanzaa by lighting the seven candles.

Embrace Kwanzaa and Celebrate Unity and Belonging at Work

Articles Dec 18, 2023

The end of the year brings holiday celebrations galore, each with its unique cultural roots and customs. In the United States, Christmas and Hanukkah are most familiar, but a relatively new winter observance also deserves attention: Kwanzaa. The week-long cultural holiday honors African American heritage and presents an opportunity for organizations to celebrate workplace diversity and inclusion.

Kwanzaa, which means "first fruits" in Swahili, is observed from December 26 to January 1. Established by Dr. Maulana Karenga in 1966, Kwanzaa is a pan-African holiday that was inspired by various African harvest festivals. “Kwanzaa is not a religious holiday, but a cultural one with an inherent spiritual quality,” he said. Karenga laid out seven key principles to be celebrated, which align with the seven days of Kwanzaa. They are unity, self-determination, collective responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith. 


Amber Keister

Amber (she/her) is a Certified Diversity Executive and content strategist for The Diversity Movement. She writes, researches, and edits TDM articles, guides, videos, and more.