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Kwanzaa Observances Begin in US

African-Americans begin observing the week-long cultural holiday of Kwanzaa Monday.

Kwanzaa, which is derived from a phrase in Swahili that means "first fruits," is celebrated from December 26, the day after Christmas, to January 1. It was created in 1966 by activist and university professor Ron Karenga in the midst of what was known as the Black Power movement in the United States - an especially active time in the civil rights movement.

The purpose of Kwanzaa is for the African-American community to reconnect with its African heritage, and to strengthen ties within families and the community.

Each day of Kwanzaa is devoted to one of seven guiding principals - unity (Umoja), self-determination (Kujichagulia), collective work and responsibility (Ujima), cooperative economics (Ujamaa), purpose (Nia), creativity (Kuumba), and faith (Imani).