Utne Blogs > Mind and Body

On the Third Day of Kwanzaa, My Minister Said to Me…

by Staff


Tags: Kwanzaa, Black church,

Some Christians are uncomfortable with observing Kwanzaa, even though none of the holiday’s principles conflict with the tenets of Christianity. The holiday’s founder, Maulana Karenga, has stressed that “Kwanzaa was not created to give people an alternative to their own religion or religious holiday,” and that it “is not a reaction or substitute for anything.” In an article for Religion News Service, Adelle M. Banks describes how various churches continue to celebrate Kwanzaa, in spite of the criticism they receive from other Christians, both inside of black churches and out. Theological compatibility aside, many churches continue to struggle over whether or not Kwanzaa distracts churchgoers from Christmas. If it does distract, is that a problem? The debate, at its core, exposes tensions surrounding identity formation and shared values within communities of faith.

Steve Thorngate