BLACK VOICES
12/23/2015 12:31 pm ET

This Is What Happens When Black People Are Asked What Kwanzaa Means

"Black Christmas?" Not quite.

Although Kwanzaa is a celebration to honor African heritage within African American culture, many black people don't know what it means.

In a new BuzzFeed video, two hosts, Tristan and Kwanza (no, really, her name is Kwanza), ask their black coworkers what Kwanzaa is. Few really know as the hosts get a variation of guesses or "I don't know" from them.

"Black Christmas?" one guy offers as a response. Two people admit that though they celebrated it before, they still weren't sure what was going on.

So what is Kwanzaa?

"If you're looking for a dope holiday to celebrate after Christmas, Kwanzaa is pretty lit," the hosts say of the holiday celebrated from December 26 through January 1.

Each day, those who celebrate are greeting with the question "Habari gani," which translates to "what's the news" in Swahili. The greeting is following by someone responding with the principle of the day. 

The order of principles are as follows: Umoja (unity), Kujichagulia (self-determination), Ujima (collective work and responsibility), Ujamaa (cooperative economics), Nia (purpose, Kuumba (creativity) and Imani (faith).

Each principle corresponds with a candle in a kinara with three red candles, representing struggle, three green candles, representing the future and one black candle in the center, representing the people. During the celebration, the unity cup is passed to all of the family members, with the last sip being saved for the ancestors that passed away.  

Though these are the basics of celebrating this holiday, there are additional steps for preparation and activities that can make Kwanzaa ceremony special.

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