Although Kwanzaa is primarily celebrated in the United States and Canada, it has also spread to Brazil, the Caribbean, Great Britain, France, Senegal and other West African countries. Both Kwanzaa and Christmas are celebrated in many African-American homes.
Kwanzaa was introduced in the United States as a uniquely African-American holiday in 1966. Dr. Maulana Karenga designed the week-long observance to celebrate the first fruits of the harvest as an alternative to the commercialism of Christmas.
Kwanzaa celebrates seven principles based on the African beliefs of community and cooperation. A candle holder holds one black, three red and three green candles, each representing one of the principles. Every night, another candle is lit, and the celebration focuses on that night's principle. Observance of Kwanzaa may include readings, music, drumming and the candle lighting ritual.