Twitter tried to shine a spotlight Thursday on the first day of Kwanzaa, a holiday that celebrates Black heritage and is often overlooked by the mainstream media, but the company came up short by two candles.
Kwanzaa’s colors ― red, black and green ― and the seven candles in a candle holder known as a Kinara are part of the holiday’s centerpieces.
The hashtag Twitter was using to celebrate Kwanzaa included a custom emoji of a Kinara with five candles, instead of the seven that are supposed to represent the holiday’s Seven Principles: unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith.
Some people also noticed that the emoji used a blue candle instead of a black one.
In a company statement to HuffPost, Twitter explained: “This was an error. We have now corrected and uploaded a new emoji that is a more accurate rendering of the Kinara. Just a note that it may take a few hours for the change to appear live on all devices globally.”
Starting Dec. 26, Kwanzaa takes place over seven days. The holiday was created in 1966 by U.S. scholar Maulana Karenga, the chair of Africana studies at California State University, Long Beach, to promote unity among Black people in the U.S. and the greater African diaspora. While its roots are in the U.S., the seven-day celebration is now observed in other countries, including some in Africa.
One Twitter user who was disappointed with the social media giant’s incorrect Kwanzaa symbols wondered if the company had researched the holiday before promoting it.
Others called on the company to correct its Kinara emoji.
Despite the incorrect Kinara in its holiday messaging, Twitter highlighted all of the Seven Principles on its other company Twitter accounts.