People in the United States and all over the world are now celebrating an African festival known as Kwanzaa. Even “Criminal Minds” actress Kirsten Vangsness, who plays tech genius Penelope Garcia on the CBS series, joined the festivities.
Vangsness reposted a photo shared by her friend, Valentino Agundez, who celebrated Kwanzaa with the actress, her children Evan and Ocean and other family members. The 44-year-old star said that although it is a new holiday, Kwanzaa is a wonderful thing to celebrate. The festival began on Dec. 26 and ends on New Year, Jan. 1, 2017.
Kwanzaa celebrates seven core principles that are unity, self-determination, collective work and social responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith. People who celebrate the festival give gifts and decorate their houses with objects of African art and colorful African cloth. Women usually wear kaftans and children remember their ancestors.
The week-long festival ends in a feast.
Kwanzaa is a relatively new festival. It was created by Maulana Karenga in 1966 as the first African and African-American holiday. Kwanzaa is a Swahili phrase that means first fruits or the first fruits of the harvest. Fruits are an important part of the celebration.
Libations are typically shared with friends and family members. A drink is poured in a chalice that is sipped and passed around.
Kinaras, which represent the seven principles, are lit. A Kinara is a candelabra that has seven candle holders.
Kwanzaa helps Africans around the world celebrate their culture and ethnic background. It is usually celebrated along with Christmas and New Year. The beauty of this festival is that it can be celebrated by people of any religion, not just non-Christians.
While Vangsness was busy celebrating Kwanzaa, her co-stars spent Christmas in a variety of ways. See how they enjoyed their holidays here.
“Criminal Minds” Season 12 returns on Wednesday, Jan. 4 at 9 p.m. EST on CBS.
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