Christians Beware: Kwanzaa was created pagan and is still pagan!

kwanzaacard1This time of year after Christmas we black people may be greeted with a “Happy Kwanzaa” without really knowing what Kwanzaa is about.  And sadly, that may be true of many of our fellow believers and churches that give up their space and time to honor this very spiritual yet Christless celebration. I wrote this post in response to the great number of Christians and churches that give time to a celebration whose creator hated Jesus Christ so much he created something meant as a substitute.


This will be a brief summary of what Kwanzaa is about and why Christians and churches should have nothing to do with this pagan celebration created by Dr. Maulana Karenga. Even an excerpt from his annual founder’s day message for 2015 shows his true intentions of this very deceitful celebration (see below). Pagan is not used lightly in describing Kwanzaa. As one reads in the description further down about the seven principles of Kwanzaa, Karenga even quotes from ancient African pagan religious writings such as the Husia and the Oda Ifa!

Kwanzaa is celebrated during a seven day stretch from December 26 with the final celebration ending on New Year’s day, January 1. Each day represents one of the principles of Kwanzaa called in Swahili the Nguzo Saba. The celebration itself is very festive and it brings families together complete with gift giving and feasts meant for royalty. But what is the true meaning of Kwanzaa and how should the Christian deal with it?


Starting with the seven principles of Kwanzaa which are the heart and soul of this celebration. I’ll list each and with a brief summary of as stated on Dr. Karenga’s annual Kwanzaa message for 2015 with italics showing Dr. Karenga’s meaning of the principle:

  • Umoja (Unity) – teaches us the oneness of our people, the common ground of our humanity, the interrelatedness of life and the indispensability of family and community in our righteous togetherness in love, work and struggle.
  • Kujichagulia (Self-determination) – reaffirms our right and everyone’s right to control our destiny and daily lives
  • Ujima (Collective work and responsibility) – teaches us that we come into being, thrive and flourish in needed and principled relationships. And it teaches us that it is together that we must conceive and construct the good communities, societies and world we all want and deserve.
  • Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics) – teaches the value and practice of shared work and shared wealth, the right of people to their own resources and the ethical imperative of a just and equitable sharing of the good of the world.
  • Nia (Purpose) – reminds us of the ancient ethical teaching in the Odu Ifa that we and all humans are divinely chosen to bring good in the world and that this is the fundamental mission and meaning, i.e., purpose, of human life.
  • Kuumba (Creativity) –  urges us to practice the ethical teachings of The Husia that put forth the concept of serudj ta, the moral obligation to heal, repair and transform the world making it more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.
  • Imani (Faith) – teaches us to hold tightly and firmly to the faith of our ancestors who taught us to respect each person, people and culture as a unique and equally valid and valuable way of being human in the world

These principles just listed may seen innocent enough but when Karenga’s breakdown of each principle is shown, one can see he has spiritual purposes that aren’t centered upon Christ, especially when he urges people to practice the pagan religious teachings of the Husia. These ungodly purposes are what bring this holiday into question when seen being practiced in Christian churches and homes. No matter if one exchanges Karenga’s meanings of the principles with a bible verse, the fact remains that the founder of Kwanzaa has a different intent!


With the claims of faithful Kwanzaa celebrants declaring that Kwanzaa is not religious or a religion, there are practices within this celebration that makes one wonder. Practices such as:

  • Chanting of Libations – similar to praying in religions, and praying for the dead in African religions
  • Kinara – Candle holder, very similar to the Jewish candle holder, the Menorah
  • 7 candles – similar to Hanukkah’s candle lighting ceremonies
  • Drinking of a unity cup – similar to drinking of communion
  • Roll calling of dead ancestors names – from ancient (and some present) African religions
  • Practice of seven principles to make each man, woman and child a better human being  – value principles similar to having the Judeo-Christian 10 commandments and New Testament principles that make one a new man and woman. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Even Dr. Karenga in his yearly founder’s message on Kwanzaa, makes it clear that he intends for Kwanzaa not to be just a time of celebration but to introduce a “value system” to make people better. Not wanting to call it a religion but having religious practices within the celebration with spiritual purposes, how can one NOT call this an attempt at creating another religion? Here is another excerpt from Dr. Karenga’s founder’s message for 2015:

As we said in the ‘60s, the Nguzo Saba are a Black value system, a set of communitarian African values which aid us in grounding ourselves righteously and rightly, directing our lives toward good and expansive ends, and toward conceiving and bringing into being the good communities, societies and world we all want and work and struggle so hard to bring into being. We have not changed in this position.

We have not changed in this position” indicates that Kwanzaa has basically been the same since its creation from the 60s. Dr. Karenga also wrote and he uses the words “grounding ourselves righteously and rightly.” Those are words generally used when speaking spiritually of ones self or people. And a “black value system?”  One can not speak of a value system without speaking of a way of life!


Dr. Karenga had more in mind than just a cultural celebration for ALL to celebrate once a year. He created these principles to be practiced daily. Yes, he does intend for Kwanzaa to be a system for black people to better themselves as a people and community. So what if one doesn’t care what Dr. Karenga’s intentions are? The celebration itself represents another way of life, a life apart from Christ as the only way to God and the bible as the only values and principles we all need for life!


The Kwanzaa practicing church and Christian must ask, “Why do we need Kwanzaa?” It’s one thing to have a cultural celebration, but a spiritual celebration? “Is Christ enough? Is the Bible enough?” The answer to those questions must be an emphatic YES and daddling in Kwanzaa’s godless principles and practices is no different than serving two masters.

So Christians beware, and please heed a spiritual principle found in our Bible that says:

And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. Ephesians 5:11


For an in depth look into Kwanzaa, purchase my e-book, The Real Truth About Kwanzaa 


Kwanzaa and Christianity – Unequally Yoked!


December 26 marks the beginning of the seven day celebration of Kwanzaa every year. What is Kwanzaa? It’s a celebration designed to bring together families to share their African-American culture.  At least that’s the general opinion of most who celebrate it.  For many it’s also a way of life complete with its own set of seven principles called in Swahili the Nguzo Saba.

Kwanzaa is celebrated by countless numbers of people in differing religions, ethnicities and what have you, but the number of Christians who celebrate Kwanzaa becomes a bit more on the disturbing side. Why is that? For the most part, Kwanzaa’s creation by Maulana Karenga, a college professor and leader of a black activist organization,was primarily because of his intense hatred of religions, especially of the Christian and Jewish religions.

Jesus Psychotic?

So Christians celebrate a holiday that not only is created by a man who hates religions, but mocked our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ publicly when he was quoted from the following in his book, The Quotable Karenga, 1967:

“Jesus was psychotic. He said if you didn’t believe what he did you would burn forever.” (pg 25)
“If you realized how human Jesus was, you’d see he was no God.” (pg 26)

To think I bought Karenga’s book off of Ebay a few years ago for less than 5 dollars, after giving my copy of the book to a Los Angeles pastor in the 1980’s who did nothing about it.  You can’t find that book anywhere I don’t think for less than $35, and I’ve seen it as a collector’s item in the $200 dollar range! Yes, that invaluable book reveals Karenga’s true beliefs at that time on Christians, Jesus Christ, religions in general and of himself and other humans when he said:

“We are God ourselves, therefore it is not good to be atheistic or agnostic.  To be an atheist is to deny our existence and to be an agnostic is to doubt it.” (pg 26)

This book was printed in 1967, a year AFTER Kwanzaa’s creation.  Churches that bring Kwanzaa within their walls have just offered an invitation to the wiles of Satan himself!

Kwanzaa resembling a mixture of different religions

Now many will say that that was then and now is now and how they celebrate it is the difference. Many will claim not to believe the way Karenga believes but should Christians participate in it? What is the Kwanzaa celebration about? Here a few of the elements of the Kwanzaa ceremony:

  • Chanting of Libations (see Karenga’s example of one here)
  • Drinking of a Unity Cup
  • 7 candles – one for each day of the 7 principles
  • Roll calling of dead ancestors names
  • Celebration of 7 principles to make each man, woman and child a better human being
  • Kinara – (Candle holder, very similar to the Jewish candle holder, the Menorah)

Although not considered a religious event, the entire Kwanzaa ceremony is reminiscent of Ancient African religions with the roll calling of dead ancestors, the 7 principles similar to having 10 commandments in the Judeo-Christian religions, lighting the candles in a candle holder similar to the Jewish celebration of Hanukkah. Yet it is stressed that this is not a religious celebration.

Godly vs Satanic

It’s important that as Christian’s we recognized what belongs to Satan and what belongs to God. Karenga is not to be condemned himself, but his teachings and anything associated with it we should steer clear of as we are reminded in the scriptures to do so:

“Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols?

For youare the temple of the living God.

As God has said:

“ I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people.” Therefore “ Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.” 18 “ I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the LORD Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6: 14-18

Kwanzaa is a celebration like Halloween that I’ve separated myself from. Many today do not celebrate Halloween like it was intended, but it’s the purpose of Halloween and it’s satanic pagan roots that is bothersome and to be avoided like Kwanzaa. Sure, people will say that Christmas is pagan too but the early roots of Christmas aren’t satanic and still had the purpose of honoring God. (See “Is Christmas Pagan, by Greg Koukl of Stand to Reason).

Holidays are just a small sampling of what we as Christians need to be discerning.  Unequally yoked not only means our practices, but who we associate with, date and marry, business partners and etc. God didn’t mean we couldn’t have unsaved friends or be a part of pagan ceremonies, but when it comes to relationships and practices that could compromise our faith in God, THEN it’s time to become unyoked!

To borrow from the previous link I shared on Halloween, we as Christians are to be reminded of what this world is about.  We are to remember not to get sucked into deceptive “feel good and look good” false spiritual events like Kwanzaa when the scriptures say:

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age,against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Ephesians 6:12-13


(Reposted from 12/2010)



Critiquing the Kwanzaa movie: “The Black Candle” – a Christocentric perspective

M. K. Asante's The Black CandleThere were both positive and negative elements from M. K. Asante Jr’s production of “The Black Candle,” a movie that highlights the seven day Afrocentric celebration of Kwanzaa, an event that proposes to honor the black culture of yesterday, today and tomorrow.  The movie has its share of well known people: narrated by Maya Angelou, appearances by Asante’s father, Molefi Asante also known as the father of Afrocentricity, ex-football star and actor Jim Brown, Chuck D and Stic man of gangster rap* groups Public Enemy and Dead Prez, respectively.  And also clips from the creator of Kwanzaa himself, Maulana Karenga.  But most of the interviews are of everyday people, beginning with a question being asked to many if they know about Kwanzaa and with most showing that they don’t know anything about it.  The movie progresses showing the pains resulting from the past with subjects such as racism, loss of cultural identity, lack of black history in schools and more.

What the Black Candle represents.

The name of the movie is taken from the black candle of the Kwanzaa ceremony. That is the candle that represents black people and is the middle candle of seven, also representing the seven principles of Kwanzaa called the Nguzo Saba in Swahili.

Some positives

Some of the positives of the movie were the showing of families coming together. There appeared a special time of gathering for the families during the Kwanzaa celebration.  Showing a little about black history was also a positive, as much of black history is left out in schools. The illustration of the famous black/white doll test was always riveting no matter how many times that is repeated.  This is where a black child is asked to pick out the “good” doll and the black child usually selects the white doll viewing the color black as “bad.”

Some negatives

Now for some of the negatives.  Although using some very interesting clippings of the past (Katrina, free Mumia, the Jenna six), the author ignores the history behind Kwanzaa. The movie even starts of by incorrectly calling Kwanzaa an “African Celebration.” Even the creator of Kwanzaa stresses that Kwanzaa is an African-American celebration inspired by African first fruit harvests and celebrations.

Another questionable statement was when it was said that African-Americans embrace Kwanzaa because of their feelings of homelessness.  Because we are supposedly looking for a home, we needed Kwanzaa. In Kwanzaa we embrace our “home” Africa.

Although considered non-religious, Karenga considers Kwanzaa sacred when he said in the movie:  “Kwanzaa insists on us facing our Africanness, appreciating it and raising it to the level of sacred observance .”

A reporter is heard in the background at one point in the movie describing Kwanzaa as being “not a religious observance or an alternative to Christmas.” That being a direct contradiction to what Karenga has written in his books that he created Kwanzaa to be an alternative to what he considered holidays created by the white man. (Kwanzaa: Origins, concepts practice, 1977, pg 21).

Some irony

The most striking part of the movie to me was gangster rapper Chuck D of Public Enemy talking about the negative images of black people being made positive through Kwanzaa.  This man is still a rapper with music characterized by guns, black radicalism and profanity.  His form of rap is by far not considered positive at all, a point that was somehow forgotten in the production of this movie.

It was disturbing to see the movie use the likes of Chuck D and Stic. man from the rap group Dead Prez. But what both men have in common is their black nationalism and activism, a trait that runs commonly through the movie.

The purpose

The Black Candle was a movie all about uniting black people to regain a lost culture through the celebration of Kwanzaa and the practicing of all of its seven principles.  Although the last principle, faith, was talked about in depth, only the little blurb at the end mentioned a faith in a “creator” but in the same sentence as faith in ones selves, parents, grandparents, and community.  The movie seemed to go at great lengths not to mention the name “God” although talking about faith and a way of life to be practiced daily.

This movie is just another vehicle to push the spiritually deceitful celebration of Kwanzaa.  This time the vehicle is in the form of a brilliant young twenty-something who’s been obviously influenced by his Afrocentric upbringing.  One has to be impressed with young M. K. Asante Jr. as the writer, producer and director of this movie.  In that I do commend him!

Spiritualizing culture

This movie only emphasizes what I have written extensively about Kwanzaa: it is merely a vehicle to push a humanistic man-centered religion.  It speaks of practicing principles daily and a way of life, sounding very much like any religion. This movie also shows how much culture is spiritualized and made central to how one is defined.  Contrary to what I believe that one is defined by how they believe in God through His Son Jesus Christ.  Culture should always be secondary but not the basis of our self-worth.


If the Afrocentric Maulana Karenga, Molefi Asante, his son M. K.,  and others understood the teachings and person of Jesus Christ, Kwanzaa would have never been created in the first place.  In Jesus Christ, man is made whole (no self-esteem issues) in the bible answers to life are answered (creation begins with Adam and Eve, not our African ancestors) and the future is made clear: submit to the one and only God and practice His biblical principles daily.  Our cultures should only define how we project our beliefs, and never should our beliefs be defined by our culture.

*Correction:In the beginning of my post, I referred to Dead Prez and Public Enemy as gangster (gangsta) rappers but it’s been brought to my attention that they are alternative rappers: politically conscious and black activists. Nevertheless, rappers in a category that I couldn’t fully support because of their angry and profanity laced lyrics.   – updated 12/26/2010

Don’t let anyone fool you, Kwanzaa IS religious!

KarengaIt’s that time of year again, a time that I pull away from my everyday duties of life and take some time to explain this very misunderstood holiday.  I’m black and don’t celebrate Kwanzaa, and I am more than happy to share why I don’t.

Almost every instance in which an article is written about Kwanzaa or someone is speaking on its virtues, it is usually introduced as a non-religious holiday.  Schools, businesses, and the like want people to be sure that it’s not a religion.  Otherwise they’ll have to begin justifying why they exclude the name of Jesus or even the word Christmas!

Unknown to many, Kwanzaa was actually created to be a new religion for black people.  When the “religion” didn’t catch on as Karenga would hope it would, he shopped it mainly as a cultural celebration instead.

Kwanzaa was created by Maulana Karenga in 1966 during the height of the black identity intellectual revolutions (US Organization, Black Panthers, Nation of Islam, and etc.)  Tiring of blacks celebrating what he considered the White man’s Christmas, he created the pseudo-holiday with the hopes that many would leave Christmas and Christianity behind, and follow his new religion.

In his 1980 philosophical theory book titled Kawaida Theory, Karenga even went as far to include the seven principles of Kwanzaa (called Nguzo Saba in Swahili) in his section on the positive functions of religion:

. . . values which protect and promote human life, development and unity. Such values as the common origin and the oneness of humankind, the sanctity and divinity of human life, self-discipline, truthtelling. The Nguzo Saba (from African religion); The Golden Rule (Buddhism) The Ten Commandments (Judeao-Christian) Maat or Justice (Ancient Egyptian religion). pg 25.

That was written over 20 years ago, but just recently an article caught my eye.  Karenga was in North Carolina at North Carolina Central University on December 16, for a pre-Kwanzaa event.  He was to light the kinara, or Kwanzaa candle holder with it’s seven candles, one for each principle of the Nguzo Saba.  The following was said of this event:

He referred to the ceremony as “lifting up the light that lasts.” By lighting the candles, “we are lifting up the light of our spiritual and ethical principles.”  Read more: The Herald-Sun – Kwanzaa founder lights NCCU kinara

First the ceremony looks very similar to the lighting of the Menorah in the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, which IS a religious holiday, and then part of the ceremony done before Karenga spoke but a crucial part of the Kwanzaa celebration included libations to honor ancestors, another borrowed religious item this time coming from ancient African religions. In the above mentioned quote Karenga says we are lifting OUR spiritual and ethical principles.  This is quite of bit of religious imagery for it to be considered non-religious!

Have a ceremony like this in any classroom and not call it religious is simply mind-numbing!  But even more interesting is the fact that Karenga hasn’t changed his philosophy much since his theoretical book he wrote in 1980!  Kwanzaa IS meant to be spiritual, meant to be a way of life to be practiced not only in December but always! Sounds like a religion to me!

As a Christian, I already have a way of life equipped with principles in the book called the Bible.  There is no need for any pseudo-religion especially from a man who created a new “religion” as an alternative to Christianity.

“Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.” Ephesians 5:11