Best Kwanzaa Events for Kids in Chicago

Kwanzaa, which means “first fruits of the harvest” in Swahili, honors African heritage in the African-American culture. It lasts one week, beginning on Dec. 26 and ending on Jan. 1, with each day devoted to one of the seven core principles, known in Swahili as Nguzo Saba.

Here are some of the family-friendly celebrations taking place in Chicago this year:

Kwanzaa How-To Workshop

When: 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Dec. 5

Cost: Free, pre-registration required

Learn how to create your own celebration as former Alexandria Black History Museum Curator Lillian S. Patterson shows the origins, concepts, and practices of Kwanzaa. You will hear about principals, symbols, fun activities and more.

Virtual Pre-Kwanzaa Celebration

When: 6 p.m. Dec. 9

Cost: Free, pre-registration required

The Center for Black Culture’s Annual Pre-Kwanzaa Celebration featuring Civil Rights Attorney Benjamin Crump will show the importance of educating our youth to best move our society forward. In the spirit of the third principle of Kwanzaa, Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility), this program will promote change and inspire hope.

Kwanzaa: A Virtual Celebration of Family, Community and Culture

When: 6:30-7:30 p.m. Dec. 17

Cost: Free, pre-registration required

Tasleem Jamila will share how Kwanzaa is celebrated with storytelling, songs, dances, and candle lighting. This event is prerecorded and will be posted on Kalamazoo Public Library TV.

Annual Kwanzaa Celebration 

When: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Dec. 11

Cost: Free, pre-registration required

The program will include a spoken word performance, gift making, and live music. Discussions on the importance of community and intergenerational engagement as well as a lighting ceremony and a virtual black marketplace will also be included.

Celebrating Posadas & Kwanzaa

When: 6-7 p.m. Dec. 22

Where: Pick up from Back of the Yards Branch of Chicago Public Library, 2111 W. 47th St, Chicago

Cost: Free

Join Ms. Corina at the Back of the Yards Branch for a family craft night celebrating posadas from Mexico and Kwanzaa, an African American celebration that honors their cultural heritage and values. Kits will be available to pick up at the Back of the Yards starting on December 15.

Kwanzaa Crafts

When: 7-8 p.m. Dec. 23

Where: Pick up craft kits from North Austin Branch of Chicago Public Library, 5724 W. North Ave., Chicago

Cost: Free

Celebrate Kwanzaa with North Austin Branch by learning about the holiday and making festive crafts.

Kwanzaa Virtual Market

When: Dec. 26 – Jan. 1

Cost: Free, $50 registration fee for merchants

This virtual marketplace will be available all of December with video programming throughout the month. Learn about the Kwanzaa principles and setting up a Kwanzaa table in your home.

Kwanzaa Celebration

When: 7-8 p.m. Dec. 30

Cost: Free, pre-registration required

Folklorist Kunama Mtendaji will present stories with music celebrating the 5th day of Kwanzaa, “Nia” (Purpose). This is a family-oriented program designed to teach and inspire.

This story originally published Dec. 7, 2018, and has been updated with the most recent information.


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