Christmas is the most prominent holiday in December, but did you know that Kwanzaa also takes place during the same period? Even so, Kwanzaa and Christmas have different traditions. The former focuses on cultural beliefs and practises and the latter is religious based. Nonetheless, both bring people together, inspire a joyous, celebratory mood and hold an important place in their celebrant lives. In this post, we’ll share more details about these events.
Colors of the Events
Red and green are the Christmas colors although pop culture has given significance to the colors white, blue, gold and silver. It’s believed that red symbolizes the blood of Jesus Christ and green, eternal life or a change of season.
That said, from a psychological and marketing point of view, red attracts attention, and green is a good complementary color.
White represents purity and hope. If you’re in a snowing country, it represents the freshly fallen snow. If not, you have plenty of white in your decorations.
Kwanzaa’s colors are red, green and black.
- Red denotes the bloodshed during the struggle of African Americans.
- Green demonstrates hope for their future.
- Black represents the people.
People Also Read: Black Travelers: 10 Breathtaking Caribbean Islands to Explore
Keep your passport safe when traveling by getting a passport holder from Amazon.
Both events have a significant number of decorations involved. For Christmas, the marquee piece is the Christmas tree with all its additions: light bulbs, snowflakes and balls. People also add wreaths and Christmas-themed household items, buy the Santa Claus attire and more.
During Kwanzaa, decorative pieces will have colors and symbols that represent the event, a poster of its principles and a flag colored in red, green and black.
Join our Spotcovery Global Black Community Facebook Group for early access to exclusive content and to share in a lively discussion.
Kwanzaa and Christmas take different approaches when it comes to the exchange of gifts. It’s one of the biggest traditions practised over the Christmas holidays which has ultimately led to its commercialization.
For Kwanzaa, gifts aren’t a major part of the celebration. When given, they are handed to the family and should align with the African culture.
People Also Read: 21 Thanksgiving Event Ideas Black Families Should Adopt
Another difference between Kwanzaa and Christmas is the length of the holidays. Christmas is a 12-day affair, from 25th to January 5th, while Kwanzaa is a seven-day celebration. It starts from December 26 to January 1. Each day is represented by one of the seven Kwanzaa values.
People Also Read: 12 Black American Lost Towns You Probably Didn’t Know
Get a heavy jacket to fend off the cold on Amazon.
Means of Observance
Christian faithful mark Christmas by:
- Attending a church service.
- Family get-togethers.
- Watching and listening to Christmas-themed movies and music.
- Buying gifts.
- Putting up decorations.
Kwanzaa is marked by:
- Dining together.
- Lighting a candle.
- Reading and reciting poems.
Origins of Kwanzaa and Christmas
Both events have interesting origins. Christmas dates back to the Roman and Pagan cultures. The Pagans observed two holidays in December – Saturnalia and the birth of Mithra. Additionally, they sat around fires during the dark winter nights. This is something that Romans incorporated into their culture.
Although Christianity spread in Europe and other parts of the world, the influence of the Pagans was strong. Since no one knew when Jesus was born, the Romans adopted the Pagan holiday to celebrate Jesus’ birth.
The Watts riots or rebellion of 1965 inspired Maulana Karenga to start Kwanzaa to unite African Americans. This holiday was based on the African Harvest festival – Kwanzaa, a term derived from the Swahili term ‘Matunda ya Kwanza’ or first fruits. The first Kwanzaa was marked in 1966 and enters its 57th year in 2023.
People Also Read: Save for Christmas and Boost Your Black Family’s Holiday Experience
Get African American Christmas gifts on Amazon.
Purpose of the Holidays
Although Kwanzaa and Christmas are celebrated around the same time, the purpose of the events is different. Christmas is a religious holiday, meant to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ. Kwanzaa is a cultural holiday, meant to celebrate African culture and heritage.
You can celebrate Kwanzaa and Christmas together. The former doesn’t replace the latter. Both events are similar and unique in their ways. Hopefully, this article helps you to understand each better.
Nearly 80% of consumers visit directories with reviews to find a local business. List your business for free in our exclusive Spotcovery Black-Owned Business Directory.
Spotcovery offers unique and fresh daily content on Black culture, lifestyle, and experiences. We talk about everything black, black people, black-owned and black-owned businesses. We also deliver authentic and relevant content that will inform, inspire, and empower you! The future of black media is critical to today’s black experience! Our primary audience includes African Americans, Africans, Afro-Caribbean, and people of African heritage. Black culture is for the culture!