Kwanzaa, a week-long, pan-African holiday with both ancient and modern roots, began Thursday with this year's theme "sowing and harvesting seeds of good."
The celebration is based on several ancient African spiritual texts, but it's political genesis dates to the Black Freedom Movement of the 1960s.
Kwanzaa is not connected to any particular religion, but is instead a time to meditate on the meaning and responsibility of being African in the context of the ancient African moral imperative to bring good into the world, Maulana Karenga, the founder of the holiday, wrote in the Los Angeles Sentinel Thursday.
"To know our past and honor it, to engage our present and improve it and to imagine a whole new future and forge it in the most ethical, effective and expansive ways," is the Kwanzaa celebrant's duty this season, Karenga, who is a professor and chair of the Africana Studies department at California State University, Long Beach, wrote. "Heri za Kwanzaa! Happy Kwanzaa!"