What language does Kwanzaa come from?

Languages and Cultures
Holidays and Traditions
Kwanzaa

Maulana Karenga created Kwanzaa in 1965 as the first specifically African-American holiday. According to Karenga, the name Kwanzaa derives from the Swahili phrase matunda ya kwanza, meaning "first fruits of the harvest".

It comes from Swahili, one of the languages spoken in a number of African countries, including Kenya, Tanzania, and Democratic Republic of Congo. According to Maulana Karenga, the scholar who created this holiday in the late 1960s , the name is derived from "matunda ya kwanza"-- the first fruits of the harvest.

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Kwanzaa is a made-up word. When the holiday was created in 1966 by Maulana Karenga, an American, he constructed the word from the Swahili kwanza (first) and kuzaa, to bear or produce (as in crops or giving birth). Kwanza is a Swahili word meaning "first." Kwanzaa is not a real Swahili word. The...

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