Hanukkah and Kwanzaa are popular winter holidays celebrated around the world, and although they don’t share the same history or cultural influence, both reflect fundamental values and beliefs that many communities embrace. Despite their differences, there are a few interesting similarities that draw people together during Hanukkah and Kwanzaa.
Though their histories are distinct, both Hanukkah and Kwanzaa embrace important core values that bring communities together in celebration and reflection on shared history. Common threads between the two holidays include:
- Commemoration – Both Hanukkah and Kwanzaa are commemorative holidays.
- Cooking – Both holidays involve traditional cooking.
- Colors – Red, black, and green are the colors of Kwanzaa and are represented on the Hanukkah menorah.
Hanukkah celebrates the Maccabean revolt of 168-164 B.C. and the rededication of the Second Temple, while Kwanzaa celebrates the culture, struggles, and triumphs of the African diaspora. Though each holiday celebrates distinct historical moments, each offers a unique opportunity to honor and understand the particular people, culture, and faith behind the holiday.
Cooking is another common thread between the two holidays. For Hanukkah, celebrants traditionally fry up latkes and jelly donuts in oil to commemorate the miracle of the oil that burned for eight days. During Kwanzaa, celebrants often cook and enjoy a traditional African-American meal of things like grits or honey-baked ham. Eating traditional recipes is an important way to honor the culture and faith behind the holiday.
The colors associated with both Kwanzaa and Hanukkah are red, black, and green. In Kwanzaa, each of the colors represents a fundamental value and core tenet of the African-American struggle. On the Hanukkah menorah, the middle candle is usually set in between two candles of a different color, typically alternating in black and white pairs with a green candle in the center.
While Hanukkah and Kwanzaa celebrate distinct and independent beliefs, both holidays offer a chance to commemorate and reconnect with our own history. Through shared values like commemoration, cooking, and colors, folk from a variety of backgrounds can find common ground around both holidays and bring people together in celebration and reflection during the winter season.
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Last update 2023-11-27. Price and product availability may change.