Trump and Melania send warmest wishes for Kwanzaa

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Seven candles are lighted over the seven days of Kwanzaa and are symbolic of Nguzo Saba, the seven principles of African heritage.

President Donald Trump on Tuesday officially wished the nation a "happy Kwanzaa" to mark the beginning of the holiday.

In Obama's statements about the holiday, he consistently emphasized the values that all Americans can find in culture celebrated on Kwanzaa. From how long it lasts to its seven principles, here's what you need to know!

Kwanzaa runs through January 1.

Kwanzaa was created in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga, a professor and chairman of Black Studies of California State University, Long Beach, who wanted to bring African-Americans together as a community.

On Tuesday afternoon, more than 100 people watched the fourth-annual Kwanzaa celebration at the Jefferson School African-American Heritage Center. The name is derived from "matunda ya kwanza", which means "first fruits" in the Swahili language.

Trump famously criticized his predecessor in 2011, tweeting the Obama had "issued a statement for Kwanzaa but failed to issue one for Christmas". The final line of the blog was a quote suggesting that Kwanzaa, like the Seinfeld-inspired Festivus, was a "fake holiday".

Those participating in the celebration often decorate their house with fruits, Kwanzaa flags, and a kinara - a candleholder with seven slots that holds candles in black, red and green. Kwanzaa is the celebration of a culture, not a religion. Each day has a different theme, including self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith. Kwanzaa celebrations usually feature songs, dances, storytelling, poetry reading, and a large meal.

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