THE BRONX - The African-American tradition of Kwanzaa began Wednesday.

Black studies professor and activist Dr. Maulana Karenga started the holiday 40 years ago. The name comes from Swahili for "first fruits." The seven-day celebration of culture and history ends Jan. 1.

A candle is lit for each day of Kwanzaa, which is often associated with music and dance. The seven principles of unity, self-determination, collective responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith are celebrated.

While many residents News 12 The Bronx spoke to admitted that they don't know much about the holiday, they agreed it will gain popularity as it gets older.

"As a black people, we don't have anything that we can actually call our own," said Mercedes Ayala. "They're valuable principles."