Drumming during the Kwanzaa celebration at the Atlantic City Library, Saturday, Dec. 15.

ATLANTIC CITY – Residents got to learn more about the African-American festival of Kwanzaa at the Free Public Library on Saturday, Dec. 15.

The non-religious holiday lasts for seven days, from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1. On Saturday, they got to celebrate the harvest a bit early with candle lighting, dancing and drumming.

One candle for every goal to be acted on throughout the year.

Started in 1966 by Maulana Karenga, chairman of Africana Studies at California State University in Long Beach, as a way to instill pride in culture, the festival takes its name from the Swahili phrase for “first-fruits,” matunda ya kawanza, and honors African ancestors and culture, and provides a chance to enjoy food, gift-giving, and the red, green and black colors of Kwanzaa.

Kwanzaa display of books at the Atlantic City Free Public Library.

Each day focuses on principals and goals for the year, including Umoja (unity), Kujichagulia (self-determination), Ujima (collective work and responsiblity), Ujamaa (cooperative economics), Nia (sense of purpose), Kuumba (creativity) and Imani (faith).

Learn more at maulanakarenga.org.

Learn about Kwanzaa this month at the Atlantic City Library.