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16 Dec 2022

Where to celebrate Kwanzaa in Greater Philadelphia for 2022

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December 16, 2022 Category: Entertainment Posted by:

ABOVE PHOTO: Kwanzaa at AAMP (Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia)


From the Swahili phrase “matunda ya kwanza” — translation: “first fruits” — Kwanzaa is an annual celebration of African American heritage and culture.

Derived from a number of African harvest festival traditions, Kwanzaa honors African American heritage through seven principles: unity (umoja), self-determination (kujichagulia), collective responsibility (ujima), cooperative economics (ujamaa), purpose (nia), creativity (kuumba) and faith (imani).

The holiday was founded by Dr. Maulana Karenga in 1966 and is marked by storytelling, performances, drumming and more each day from December 26 through January 1.

In Greater Philadelphia, residents and visitors can celebrate Kwanzaa at a number of all-ages events in 2022, including one attended by Dr. Karenga himself.

Here’s a look at Kwanzaa celebrations taking place in Greater Philadelphia for 2022.

Kwanzaa at The African American Museum in Philadelphia

December 26, 2022 – January 1, 2023

The African American Museum in Philadelphia celebrates Kwanzaa with a mix of in-person and virtual events. Things kick off with the in-person Unity Celebration & Showcase on December 26, 2022, celebrating the principle of unity (umoja) and featuring poetry, interactive dance, and drumming. On December 28, 2022, celebrate the principle of cooperative economics (ujamaa) with a night market featuring a curated lineup of Black-owned businesses. In addition to shopping, guests enjoy music, games and a paper quilt-making workshop inspired by works in the museum’s Vision & Spirit exhibition. Note: In-person events are included in regular museum admission. The virtual celebrations are free to attend, but registration is required.

Where: The African American Museum in Philadelphia, 701 Arch Street

Boathouse Row Lights: Kwanzaa

December 26, 2022 – January 1, 2023

The iconic 19th-century boathouses along the Schuylkill River light up in red, green and yellow for Kwanzaa each night from December 26, 2022, to January 1, 2023. Two great spots to catch the colors: Fairmount Water Works or the platform above the Fairmount Fish Ladder on the Schuylkill River Trail just off Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. Stay tuned for details about a virtual lighting ceremony planned for December 26, 2022.

Where: Boathouse Row, 1 Boathouse Row

Kwanzaa Cooperative’s 56th Anniversary Kwanzaa Celebration at Imhotep Institute Charter High School

Tuesday, December 27, 2022 | 3-8 p.m.

Join Kwanzaa founder Dr. Maulana Karenga and other leaders in a community celebration on the second day of Kwanzaa, highlighting the principle of self-determination (kujichagulia). The daylong event features a candle-lighting ceremony, local vendors, a children’s area, and workshops centered on relationship building, healing, and Black studies. Note: General entry to the event is free; however, a few workshops are available with a suggested donation.

Where: Imhotep Institute Charter High School, 6201 N. 21st Street

Karen “Queen Nur” Abdul-Malik. (Photo courtesy Young Audiences Arts for Learning)

Kwanzaa Celebration at the Please Touch Museum

Friday, December 30, 2022 | 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Enjoy a day of interactive performances featuring storytelling, drumming, and dancing led by nationally renowned storyteller and teaching artist Karen “Queen Nur” Abdul-Malik. Kwanzaa festivities are included in regular museum admission

Where: Please Touch Museum, 4231 Avenue of the Republic

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