President Donald Trump on Tuesday officially wished the nation a "happy Kwanzaa" to mark the beginning of the holiday.
"Today marks the first day of Kwanzaa, a weeklong celebration of African American heritage and culture. Together, let us celebrate during this joyous time the richness of the past and look with hope toward a brighter future," Trump said in a statement.
"As families and friends join to light the Kinara, Melania and I extend our warmest wishes for a joyful holiday season and a prosperous year to come."
Trump follows in the tradition of his predecessors, Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton, who each issued a statement to mark the start of Kwanzaa, which begins each year on Dec. 26 and ends on Jan. 1.
Kwanzaa was created in 1966 by Maulana Karenga, a leader in the Black Power movement and now Chair of the Africana Studies Department at California State University, Long Beach. The name comes from a Swahili phrase, "matunda ya kwanza," which means "first fruits of the harvest," according to Infoplease.
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