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Kwanzaa, the newest of all the December holidays, was created in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga as a way of uniting the African-American community after the Watts riots.

Kwanzaa is based on different African harvest celebrations, and the holiday usually includes stories, gifts, music and food. Kwanzaa is celebrated for seven nights, and one candle is lit each night. The candleholder is called the Kinara and the seven candles are called the Mishumaa Saba. The candles are red, representing blood shed by Africans; green, representing hope and the color of Africa; and black, representing the faces of the African people. The three candles on the left are red, the three candles on the right are green and the center candle is black.

There are seven principles, called Nguzo Saba, of Kwanzaa, and one is discussed each night. The seven principles are Unity, Self-Determination, Collective Work and Responsibility, Cooperative Economics, Purpose, Creativity and Faith.

The Day of Meditation comes on January 1, the last day of Kwanzaa. Three questions, known as Kawaida, are reflected upon. The first question is “Who am I?,” the second is “Am I really who I say I am?” and the third is “Am I all I ought to be?”

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