Thursday marked the first day of Kwanzaa, a celebration of African-American culture.
President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama sent out their best wishes to those participating in the upcoming family activities and community festivities.
"Michelle and I extend our best wishes to all those celebrating Kwanzaa this holiday season.
"(Thursday) marks the beginning of the week-long celebration of African American culture through family activities and community festivities that bring attention to Kwanzaa's seven principles of unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith.
"Though each principle represents the essence of this holiday, they also represent the shared values that bind us as Americans.”
Obama’s first greeting in 2011 followed a time when there were certain opinions toward showing appreciation for the holiday. The idea of the White House acknowledging Kwanzaa was seen as an absurd gesture during Pres. George W. Bush’s presidency.
"I send greetings to those celebrating Kwanzaa.
Kwanzaa celebrates the traditional African values of unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith. From December 26th to January 1st, people of African descent gather to renew their commitment to these seven principles, known as Nguzo Saba, and give thanks for the blessings of family, community, and culture. Kwanzaa is also a time for Africans and African-Americans to honor their common heritage by participating in events based on early harvest gatherings called matunda ya kwanza, or first fruits.
As individuals and families join together during Kwanzaa, their joy enriches communities in the United States and across the globe. By uniting people of diverse backgrounds and beliefs, this holiday promotes mutual understanding and respect. These universal principles inspire us as we work together for a future of freedom, hope, and opportunity for all.
Laura joins me in sending our best wishes for a memorable Kwanzaa, and for peace, happiness, and success in the coming year.
GEORGE W. BUSH"
Nevertheless, this time the Obamas leave all those who believe in the spirit of Kwanzaa with a similar blessing for the New Year to come.
"As families and communities across our country come together today to light the Kinara, our family sends our hopes for a prosperous and healthy new year."