50 Best Kwanzaa Quotes, Special Sayings & Greetings

Kwanzaa quotes

As you come together to celebrate African American culture this Kwanzaa, use these Kwanzaa quotes, special sayings & greetings!

Kwanzaa is a week-long celebration of African American culture celebrated the week between Christmas and the New Year (December 26th – January 1st). Dr. Maulana Karenga created the festival, and it was first established in 1966. Kwanzaa’s name originates from the phrase “matunda ya kwanza”, which translates to “first fruits” in Swahili. The official colors of Kwanzaa are red, black and green. Red represents the bloodshed in the fight for freedom. Black represents those of African descent and green represents the beautiful land of Africa.

Looking for Kwanzaa quotes? Keep scrolling for the best Happy Kwanzaa quotes, Kwanzaa special sayings and Kwanzaa greetings you need to create joyful and meaningful messages to your loved ones this Kwanzaa!

Kwanzaa sayings

The Seven Principles of Kwanzaa

Kwanzaa is a celebration of sevens – the word Kwanzaa is seven letters, it lasts for seven days with seven candles lit in the kinara (candleholder) and includes seven principles that originate from African tradition, each corresponding to its own day:

  • December 26: Umoja (Unity)
  • December 27: Kujichagulia: Self-Determination
  • December 28: Ujima: Collective Work and Responsibility
  • December 29: Ujamaa: Cooperative Economics
  • December 30: Nia: Purpose
  • December 31: Kuumba: Creativity
  • January 1: Imani: Faith

The Seven Symbols of Kwanzaa

The symbols of Kwanzaa represent African culture as a whole:

  • Mazao: Fruits, nuts & vegetables (crops)
  • Mkeka: The mat where the Kwanzaa symbols are arranged
  • Muhindi / Vibunzi: The stalk of corn representing fertility and future family
  • Mishumaa Saba: The seven candles that represent the seven principles
  • Kinara: The candleholder which symbolizes family
  • Kikombe cha Umoja: The unity cup
  • Zawadi: Gifts to children from their parents


Best Kwanzaa Quotes

Kwanzaa is a yearly celebration of family, community and culture celebrated by millions around the world. Bookmark these Kwanzaa quotes to use all week long:

  • “The [Kwanzaa] holiday, then will of necessity, be engaged as an ancient and living cultural tradition which reflects the best of African thought and practice in its reaffirmation of the dignity of the human person in community and culture, the well-being of family and community, the integrity of the environment and our kinship with it, and the rich resource and meaning of a people’s culture.” – Maulana Karenga, creator of Kwanzaa
  • “Kwanzaa is a holiday that should be celebrated by everyone, not just the Black community.” —Jacqui Lewis
  • “We build our temples for tomorrow, strong as we know how, and we stand on top of the mountain, free within ourselves.” — Langston Hughes
  • “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” —African Proverb
  • “For Africa to me…is more than a glamorous fact. It is a historical truth. No man can know where he is going unless he knows exactly where he has been and exactly how he arrived at his present place.” —Maya Angelou

  • “The seven principles of Kwanzaa — unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith — teach us that when we come together to strengthen our families and communities and honor the lesson of the past, we can face the future with joy and optimism.”– President Bill Clinton
  • “We need to haunt the halls of history and listen anew to the ancestors’ wisdom.” – Maya Angelou
  • “We have religious holidays, and we have secular holidays. I see Kwanzaa as an opportunity for African Americans to reaffirm ourselves if we choose to, a chance to rebuild and renew our focus. I see Kwanzaa as a holiday of the spirit.”– Jessica Harris
  • “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.” – Muhammad Ali
  • “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • “Unity, to be real, must stand the severest strain without breaking.” – Mahatma Gandhi
  • “The story of African Americans is a story of resilience and perseverance.” – Barack Obama
  • “Perseverance is everything.” – Yoruba proverb
  • “You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.” – Kahlil Gibran

RELATED: Best Kwanzaa Captions & Quotes

7 principles of Kwanzaa

Happy Kwanzaa Quotes

Looking for the best thing to say this Kwanzaa? We’ve got you covered! Use these Happy Kwanzaa quotes in cards, on social media or in person:

  • “So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole Earth.” —Bahá’u’lláh
  • “Kwanzaa is a special time to remember the ancestors, the bridge builders, and the leaders.” —Dorothy Winbush Riley
  • “Kwanzaa is a pan-African celebration of heritage and culture and family and community. The principles and the manner of observing the holiday lift up traditional values that are key to our lives.”– Janine Bell
  • “Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • “…the drums of Africa still beat in my heart.” – Mary McLeod Bethune
  • “Do what you do. This Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Year’s Eve, Twelfth Night, Valentine’s Day, Mardi Gras, St. Paddy’s Day, and every day henceforth. Just do what you do. Live out your life and your traditions on your own terms. If it offends others, so be it. That’s their problem.” — Chris Rose

  • “We don’t accomplish anything in this world alone… and whatever happens is the result of the whole tapestry of one’s life and all the weavings of individual threads form one to another that creates something.” – Sandra Day O’Connor
  • “It is clear that we must find an African solution to our problems and that this can only be found in African unity. Divided we are weak; united, Africa could become one of the greatest forces for good in the world.” — Kwame Nkrumah
  • “Each of us is a being in himself and a being in society, each of us needs to understand himself and understand others, take care of others and be taken care of himself.” — Haniel Long
  • “If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” – Frederick Douglass
  • “We are each other’s harvest; we are each other’s business; we are each other’s magnitude and bond.” — Gwendolyn Brooks
  • “We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value no matter what their color.” —Maya Angelou
  • “In unity there is strength.” – Aesop, “The Bundle of Sticks”

RELATED: 105 Best Christmas Letter Board Ideas & Quotes for the Holidays

Kwanzaa greetings

Kwanzaa Special Sayings

Want to make someone’s Kwanzaa extra special? Use a Swahili phrase or one of these Kwanzaa special sayings:

  • Heri za Kwanzaa! (“Happy Kwanzaa” in Swahili)
  • Harambee (“Let’s pull together” in Swahili)
  • From Umoja to Imani, may all the blessings of Kwanzaa be yours.
  • Sticks in a bundle are unbreakable – African proverb
  • Kwanzaa is a reminder that good things happen around a table
  • I am because we are

  • Kwanzaa has a life of its own. Kwanzaa is about the spirit of people.
  • Joyous Kwanzaa!
  • Your spirit shines just as bright as the Kinara
  • “Wishing you happiness at Kwanzaa and faith, unity and hope in the New Year.”
  • “If you cain’t bear no crosses, you cain’t wear no crown.” – African American saying

kwanzaa sayings

Kwanzaa Greetings

Use these Kwanzaa greetings to reinforce commitment and awareness to the seven principles of Kwanzaa:

  • Habari Gani? (“How are you?” in Swahili)
  • Keeping you in our thoughts this Kwanzaa
  • May you have a meaningful Kwanzaa
  • Wishing you a blessed Kwanzaa
  • Light the candles of Kwanzaa and fill up your house with peace and prosperity
  • May your Kwanzaa be filled with hope, peace and abundance

  • Celebrating your heritage this Kwanzaa and all year long
  • Sending you warm wishes this Kwanzaa
  • May this Kwanzaa bring you abundance, love and health
  • Let your seven principles guide you this Kwanzaa and always
  • This Kwanzaa, I am so grateful for your light
  • May Kwanzaa bring you faith, unity and prosperity

kwanzaa quotes

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