Date: Wed, 24 Dec 1997 21:49:22 -0500

From: Alan Baragona baragonasa[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]VAX.VMI.EDU

Subject: Re: Season's Greetings

Barnhart wrote:

Dear All,

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Joyous Kwanza. Are there dialectal

variations in these?

Apparently there is for Kwanza, anyway, though it may not be dialectal.

In Virginia, it's spelled Kwanzaa , and a recent newspaper article

actually pointed out that the Swahili word for "first" is "kwanza," but

that a final -a had been added to the festival's name. It didn't

explain who added the -a or why, and I note that the RHD (Unabridged)

spells it "Kwanza" in good Swahili. So is there regional variation in

the American spelling of this relatively new holiday or just general

inconsistency? And why the un-African -aa spelling in the first place?

Alan B.