Learn about the history and significance of Kwanzaa. The celebrations of Kwanzaa are relatively recent. The holiday was founded by Dr. Malauna Karenga in 1966 as an African equivalent to Christmas and Hanukkah. There are many different reasons for celebration incorporated into this holiday. Reconnecting to life, community, and culture are a large part of what this holiday embodies. Freedom, justice, and equality also play an enormous role in the meaning behind the festivities.