International Recipes and Cooking Around the World

Kwanzaa: Recipes and Traditions

Seven principles of Kwanzaa

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The period from December 26 through January 1 marks Kwanzaa, a week-long holiday celebrating the ancestral roots of African-Americans. The name Kwanzaa is derived from the Swahili words for "first fruits." The tradition was created in 1966 by civil rights activist Ron Karenga.

Each day one of seven principles, or Nguzo Saba, is noted. Kinara candles are lit, libations are poured and gifts are exchanged. The week culminates in a Karamu, or feast, when traditional African and African-American dishes are prepared.

Nguzo Saba: The Seven Principles:

  1. Umoja: unity
  2. Kujichagulia: self-determination
  3. Ujima: collective work and responsibility
  4. Ujamaa: cooperative economics
  5. Nia: purpose
  6. Kuumba: creativity
  7. Imani: faith

Kwanzaa Recipes

Try these recipes for Kwanzaa.


Women making fufu

(West African mashed yams)


Black-eyed pea fritters

(Senegalese black-eyed pea fritters)


Hkatenkwan (Ghanaian chicken and groundnut stew)

(Ghanaian chicken and groundnut stew)