Tanya Bacchus of Great Neck and Aris Isaac, from Tampa, Florida...

Tanya Bacchus of Great Neck and Aris Isaac, from Tampa, Florida light one of the seven candles during the Kwanzaa celebration at the Long Island Children’s Museum. Credit: Shelby Knowles

Honoring African American heritage and its rich traditions, Kwanzaa is celebrated Dec. 26 through Jan. 1  with keynote speakers, dinner feasts, music, dancing and the seven-day lighting of the Kinara. "Our children must know that knowledge of Black history is important and the continuity of observing Kwanzaa is culturally beneficial and absolutely necessary," says Town of Hempstead's deputy supervisor, Dorothy L. Goosby. 

All are invited to partake in festivities that are based on African harvest festival traditions from various parts of West and Southeast Africa. Seven principles that aim to inspire are at its  core. "I am excited about celebrating the seven principles of Kwanzaa and especially the seventh principle Imani, meaning faith, as we recommit to all that is of value to us as a family, community, people and culture," says Fabian Burrell, coordinator for programming and community engagement, for the Center for African, Black and Caribbean Studies at Adelphi University, which held its celebratory event earlier this month. 

Celebrate the richness of African roots at these Kwanzaa events that are planned this month:

Town of North Hempstead celebration

141 Garden St., Westbury

Includes a tree lighting and celebration with a musical performance, 5 p.m. Dec. 15 at Yes We Can Community Center.

Cost Free

More info northhempsteadny.gov, 516-869-2401.

Town of Hempstead celebration

Town Hall, 1 Washington St., Hempstead

The annual celebration takes place, 6 p.m. Dec. 15, and is hosted by Town of Hempstead's Deputy Supervisor Dorothy L. Goosby's office. There will be a guest speaker along with entertainment including dancing and singing by local students. A traditional Kwanzaa chief discusses the seven principles of the holiday and after the program, you're invited to partake in a karamu (feast) that usually focuses on traditional southern cuisine like fried chicken, macaroni and cheese and candied yams and can also include Caribbean cuisine such as stewed or jerked chicken. 

Cost Free

More info hempsteadny.gov, 516-489-5000 ext. 4304.

Westbury Arts

255 Schenck Ave., Westbury

Explore African symbols, learn about the principles of Kwanzaa and make handmade gifts, 1 to 4 p.m. Dec. 17 at Westbury Arts. The event is hosted by Marcia Odle-McNair, author of “Kwanzaa Crafts: Gifts and Decorations for a Meaningful Celebration." 

Cost Free

More info Register at eventbrite.com, westburyarts.org, 516-400-2787. 

Half Hollow Hills Community Library

55 Vanderbilt Pkwy., Dix Hills

Cultural celebration focuses on traditional African American values of family, responsibility and self-improvement, 2 p.m. Dec. 17. The event is presented by the Mother’s Club of Wheatley Heights with the Concerned Fathers of Wheatley Heights and the library.

Cost Free to all Nassau/Suffolk library cardholders; register in advance, two admissions for every library cardholder.

More info hhhlibrary.org, 631-421-4530. 

Cradle of Aviation Museum

1 Davis Ave., Uniondale 

The Nassau County Office of Minority Affairs invites you to celebrate Kwanzaa and the traditions and principles of African American history at "Lighting the Way to Empower Our Future," 6 to 8 p.m. Dec. 21 at the Reckson Center. Doors open at 5 p.m.

Cost Free

More info Register at eventbrite.com; cradleofaviation.org, 516-572-2274.

Long Island Children's Museum 

11 Davis Ave., Uniondale

Join Zeta Phi Beta Sorority and Long Island Children's Museum to learn about the meaning behind Kwanzaa. You'll also create a a mkeka which is a traditional straw mat used on the table during Kwanzaa and a beaded ear of corn , 1 to 3 p.m. Dec. 28.

Cost Free with $17 museum admission

More info licm.org, 516-224-5800. 


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