Kwanzaa is a non-religious African American holiday that takes place over seven days from December 26 to January 1. It draws on African traditions and takes its name from the Swahili phrase for "first fruits." Its origins are in harvest celebrations that occurred in ancient and modern times in various places across the African continent.
These traditions were synthesized and reinvented in 1966 by Maulana Karenga as the contemporary cultural festival known as Kwanzaa. The U.S. Postal Service issued its first Kwanzaa commemorative stamp in 1997.
The holiday is intended to be a celebration of seven principles - unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith - based on values prevalent in African culture.