Kwanzaa Celebrations for Twin Cities Families

MGM Kwanzaa Celebration

Midtown Global Market, 920 E. Lake Street, Minneapolis, MN 55407
Date: December 26, 2023-January 2, 2024
Time: 2pm to 6pm
Admission: FREE
Details: This seven-day celebration of family, health-and-wellness, community and culture includes drum classes, line dancing, open mic, jazz, storytelling, and local artist performances. Stop by the Cultural Wellness Center for tastings, children’s activities, and paint-and-sip mocktails.

Celebrate Kwanzaa at Home

While local events are becoming harder to find, the principles of Kwanzaa remain sound principles of living together as a community for everyone. If you would like to study these principles with your children, we have listed them below:

The Seven Principles of Kwanzaa

Each principle has its day to be explored during the 7-day celebration.

  1. Unity: “Umoja”
  2. Self-determination: “Kujichagulia”
  3. Collective work and responsibility: “Ujima”
  4. Cooperative economics: “Ujamaa:
  5. Purpose: “Nia”
  6. Creativity: “Kuumba”
  7. Faith: “Imani”

To celebrate at home, you can get this printable from Scholastic, explaining the 7 Principles of Kwanzaa in a child-friendly manner with examples of how the principles can be incorporated into daily life and example of real-life heroes and role models who display these characteristics.

Kwanzaa is usually celebrated with feasts, so it could be fun to add observances to your own family dinners during the week. You’ll also want to include music, dance, poetry, and stories as part of your family celebration.

Find more activities from PBS here.

Cuddle In for Children’s Reading Circle:

The Minnesota African American Heritage Museum and Gallery has hosted online story times by guest readers through their Virtual Storytelling videos. Local actress Ashawnti Sakina Ford reads Soulful Holidays by Ciara Hill. This rhyming book celebrates both Christmas and Kwanzaa.  Watch the video here and check out the other Virtual Storytelling videos here.

And watch Jaheem’s First Kwanzaa read by the author (and local youth), Zephaniah Martin. In 2021, at the age of 10, Martin wrote this book that honors cultural roots and introduces Kwanzaa to the reader. He was the 2021 winner of the youth writing competition by Planting People Growing Justice Leadership Institute. This annual contest is open to Minnesota kids ages 8-17 who are of African American descent. Learn more about Zephaniah Martin, Jaheem’s First Kwanzaa and the PPGLI Youth Writing Competition here.

Things You May Need On Hand*:

To celebrate you may want to purchase some Kwanzaa candles (three red candles, three green candles and a black candle).

More Activities:

Find more activities to do with children on the official website, where I found most of my information.

Can you Celebrate Kwanzaa if you are not of African descent?

From Dr. Maulana Karenga, Creator of Kwanzaa :

“Kwanzaa is clearly an African holiday created for African peoples. But other people can and do celebrate it, just like other people participate in Cinco de Mayo besides Mexicans; Chinese New Year besides Chinese; Native American pow wows besides Native Americans.”

Read more here.

If your family wants to exchange gifts for this celebration, they are traditionally homemade, but you could consider purchasing from local, black-owned businesses.

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