12/27/2012 01:26 pm ET

Kwanzaa Gwaride 2012: Parade Marks Start Of Weeklong Holiday In Los Angeles (VIDEO)

Happy 36th Kwanzaa!

Celebrated in the week between Christmas and the new year (Dec. 26-Jan. 1), Kwanzaa is based on seven principles: unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith.

Understood as a cultural holiday honoring African American history and heritage, Kwanzaa was created by Maulana Karenga, a professor of African Studies, and first celebrated in 1966. Karenga, who publishes a Kwanzaa greeting each year on his website, called for "courageous questioning" in his 2012 message:

This ancient and honored call is rooted in the profound respect for the scared and the Transcendent, the rights and dignity of the human person, the well-being and flourishing of family and community, the reciprocal solidarity of human beings, and the health and wholeness of the world.