The African American cultural celebration of Kwanzaa kicks off with festivities around the city starting on December 26, the first day of the festival. Created to inspire community-centered celebrations based on seven African principles, Kwanzaa focuses on a single principle for seven days and ends with a feast and creative program. Check out these Kwanzaa events for a taste of the city's community spirit:

DuSable Museum

The museum has hosted Kwanzaa celebrations for years and many South Side residents look forward to the music and dance-filled annual program. There will be events for December 26, 27, 29 and 30 and no program on Monday, December 28, when the Museum is closed. The program starts from noon-1:30 every day and has free admission.

Chicago State University

On Wednesday, December 30, the college hosts a dynamic Kwanzaa celebration that includes a marketplace, cultural presentations and a feast. The free program runs from 4-9pm and the feast is scheduled from 5-7pm.

Kwanzaa Gala

The 12th annual Kwanzaa Gala is sponsored by the Austin African American Business Networking Association and features live music by local jazz diva Terisa Griffin, dancing, vendors and food. The event will take place from 6-10 pm on December 26, at ICE Theaters on Roosevelt Road and tickets are $40.

Afriware Bookstore

This popular Maywood bookstore holds an extensive program of speakers, storytellers, music and vendors. The Kwanzaa program starts at 6:30 and runs until 8:00pm on December 26 and highlights community awareness. 

Oba William King 

Chicago History Museum

Poetic storyteller Oba William King will serve up Kwanzaa stories during the Chicaglow holiday storytelling series at Chicago History Museum. He'll perform at 2 pm and feature a special story dance interpretation.


Photo Credit: Masequa Meyers