Celebrate Kwanzaa

Kwanzaa Celebration with Mama Ayo

Umoja (Unity) | Tuesday, December 26, 2023 at 1PM

Join us for the kickoff program for Kwanzaa with storyteller Mama Ayo, who will lead us into a traditional call and response ceremony to honor our ancestors with the pouring of a libation followed by the lighting of the 1st candle in the Kinara to celebrate the Kwanzaa principle Umoja. Participants will hear stories of the history of Kwanzaa and ones that will honor heritage and family unity.

Known as “Mama Ayo”, Ayo Handy-Kendi is an author, storyteller, cultural presenter, and traditional African heritage rituals officiator. She is the Founder/Director of The African American Holiday Association (AAHA), Black Love Day – Feb. 13th, founded in 1993. Mrs. Handy-Kendi is also a sound healer, certified breathologist, laughter yoga instructor, and is a master in Reiki III.

Registration is requested. 

Kwanzaa Party with the Culture Queen

 Kujichagalia (Self-Determination) | Wednesday, December 27, 2023 at 1PM

Join Kwanzaa expert Culture Queen as she teaches your royal children super fun and festive ways to celebrate the seven principles of Kwanzaa through interactive music, crafts, storytelling, games, and the world-famous "Kwanzaa Slide" line dance for which she co-created. This joy-filled Culture Kingdom Kids program is appropriate for all ages; and will leave participants feeling more excited to incorporate Kwanzaa into their family traditions for generations to come.

Jessica “Culture Queen” Hebron is a Grammy-nominated teaching artist, children’s musician, author, and arts manager, who creates empowering entertainment for children!

Registration is requested 

Mkeka Mat Making Workshop with Tamara Thomas

Ujima (Collective Work & Responsibility)  Thursday, Dec. 28, 2023 at 1pm

Attendees participate in a mkeka mat making workshop with artist Tamara Thomas. The mkeka (em-KAY-kah) mat is placed under many of the Kwanzaa symbols on the family's table. The mkeka symbolizes tradition and history. 

Tamara J. Thomas is a sculptor, doll and craft artist, and designer. 

Registration is requested

Kikombe Cha Umoja/Unity Cup Designing Workshop with Camilla Younger

Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics) | Friday, Dec. 29, 2023 at 1PM

Participants will be led by artist Camilla Younger as they learn about Ujamaa and design and decorate a unity cup.  Each day during Kwanzaa, a libation (water, wine, or juice) is poured into the kikombe cha umoja, or unity cup. Everyone sips from the cup to symbolize the unity of the family and community. After drinking from the cup, the family discusses African American historical figures.

Camilla Younger is an artist and former DC educator.

Registration is recommended

African Drumming and Storytelling with Baba Ras D

Nia (Purpose) | Saturday, Dec. 30, 2023 at 1PM

Join us for African drumming and storytelling with Baba Ras D as we learn about the 5th principle of Kwanzaa, Nia.

Baba Ras D is the creator of The HARAMBEE Experience, an early childhood elevation activity and play program.” He encompasses faith-based expressions, from A.M.E. Baptist and Evangelical Christian to Catholic and traditional African religions. This rich multicultural upbringing ignited his passion for music and creative self-expression, while spiritual retreats and revivals instilled in him a profound reverence for the Spirit, the Ancestors, and the Supernatural.

Registration is recommended

Kwanzaa Verbal Gymnastics with John Johnson

Kuumba (Creativity) | Sunday, Dec. 31, 2023 at 1PM

Creativity is a way of expressing ourselves. Join poet and playwright, John Johnson as he leads us in Kwanzaa Verbal Gymnastics, where Kwanzaa, storytelling, and art meet community.

John A Johnson is a Poet/Playwright and native Washingtonian. He is the founder and creator of Verbal Gymnastics Theater Company. 

Registration is recommended. 

Family Card Making with Habeebah Muhammad

Imani (Faith) | Monday, Jan. 1, 2024 at 1PM

Join us for the last day of Kwanzaa to focus on the principle Imani. Habeebah Muhammad leads a discussion on the importance of faith in the family.  Participants will create and design cards to express what they are thankful for in each family member.

Habeebah Muhammad is a woman of faith and is the owner of Habeebah’s Herbals, a natural & organic skin care business for over 28 years. She is a certified aromatherapist, reflexologist and massage therapist. Ms. Muhammad retired as registrar of the Smithsonian’s Anacostia Community Museum in 2012.

Registration is recommended

Schedule at a Glance

Umoja (Unity) 
Tuesday, December 26 at 1PM: Kwanzaa Celebration with Mama Ayo

Kujichagalia (Self-Determination) Wednesday, December 27 at 1PM: Kwanzaa Party with the Culture Queen

Ujima (Collective Work & Responsibility) 
Thursday, December 28 at 1PM: Mkeka Mat Making Workshop with Tamara Thomas

Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics)
Friday, December 29 at 1PM: Kikombe Cha Umoja/Unity Cup Designing Workshop with Camilla Younger

Nia (Purpose)
Saturday, December 30 at 1PM: African Drumming & Storytelling with Baba Ras D

Kuumba (Creativity)
Sunday, December 31 at 1PM: Kwanzaa Verbal Gymnastics with John Johnson

Imani (Faith) 
Monday, January 1 at 1PM: Family Card Making with Habeebah Muhammad

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