7 Ways to Celebrate Kwanzaa Around Philly

Kwanzaa, the seven-day celebration of African American and Pan-African family, community and culture, officially kicks off Wednesday, Dec. 26.

The holiday revolves arounds seven principles:

Umoja (unity)


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Kujichagulia (self-determination)

Ujima (collective work and responsibility)

Ujamaa (cooperative economics)

Nia (purpose)

Kuumba (creativity)

Imani (faith)

To recognize the seven principles, here are seven ways to celebrate Kwanzaa Philadelphia:

Learn About Kwanzaa at the Free Library of Philadelphia

Kids at the library can learn about the history and meaning of Kwanzaa, as well as enjoy free live cultural entertainment, including a performance from the Universal Dance and Drum Ensemble and a fashion presentation from designer Ifeoma Onyia.

The free celebration starts at noon Wednesday and runs through 3 p.m.

Light a Kinara at Boathouse Row

The city of Philadelphia will join the Kwanzaa Cooperative on Wednesday for a night of free music and entertainment culminating with the lighting of boathouses on Boathouse Row.

A new house will be lit red, green and black each day until Jan 1. to mimic the kinara, a Kwanzaa candleholder.

Wednesday's celebration kicks off at 5:30 p.m.

Celebrate at the African American Museum in Philadelphia

Visitors who purchase a ticket to the African American Museum in Philadelphia can partake in free Kwanzaa activities from Wednesday to Saturday.

Wednesday will see drumming and yoga workshops. Thursday will see more workshops, including an African Dance workshop with Camara Arts, which seeks to preserve African folk arts; and a storytelling workshop.

Those who miss out on Wednesday's drumming workshop will have another chance to attend on Friday.

On Saturday, the museum's celebration concludes with a packed calendar, including a kinara lighting ceremony, a return of the African dance workshop with Camara Arts, an exploration in creativity workshop and a Kwanzaa magic show.

Enjoy and Evening With Kwanzaa's Founder

Kwanzaa was created in 1966 by Maulana Karenga, an African Studies professor at California State University, Long Beach.

What better way to celebrate the holiday than with the creator himself.

Karenga will be at West Philadelphia High School from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday to celebrate with entertainment, a candle lighting ceremony and an African marketplace. 

Observe With Your Kids at the Franklin Square Holiday Festival

It's Kwanzaa's turn Friday at the Franklin Square Holiday Festival.

The festival will offer free arts and crafts for kids between 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Spend an Evening With a Grammy Winner and Poet Laureate

Grammy Award-winner Kenny Gamble and poet laureate Sonia Sanchez join the Universal Kwanzaa Alliance for a Kwanzaa celebration Saturday at Universal Audenried Charter High School.

Visitors can purchase items from vendors at an event marketplace, as well as enjoy an evening of food, education and entertainment featuring the Universal African Dance and Drum Ensemble.

Celebrations will last from noon to 7 p.m.

Have Fun at the Kwanzaa Children's Festival

The Cecil B. Moore Community Center will play host to the 2018 Kwanzaa Children's Festival.

The festival includes live entertainment, games, music and prizes.

It starts with a candle-lighting ceremony at 3:20 p.m. and runs through 7 p.m.

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