BW List of Kwanzaa Celebrations

Kwanzaa came into existence in 1966, founded by Maulana Karenga, an African-American professor and prominent member of the Black Power movement during the 1960s and 1970s, as a holiday specifically designed to honor African-American heritage and advocate for unity and cooperation.

Taking tenets and symbols from many common religious holidays, Kalenga created Kwanzaa as a seven-day observance dedicated to seven principles, observed in ways which showcase African-American heritage. Unlike holidays like Christmas, Hanukkah and Ramadan, Kwanzaa is a cultural — not religious — holiday.

It is a cultural celebration for people of African-American heritage. It’s the first holiday to honor African-American culture and heritage.

The word “Kwanzaa” itself is a derivation of the Swahili work Kwanza, the name for a harvest festival. In English, Kwanzaa means “first fruits of the harvest,” but the holiday is firmly a winter observance.

Kwanzaa is observed from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1 every year, with each day of the observation being a day to highlight one of the seven Nguzo Saba — the seven principles.

Each of the Nguzo Saba is an idea or a symbol which people can recognize and remember. Each day has a principle, all Swahili words. The first of the Nguzo Saba is Umoja — unity. Six other principles — self-determination, collective responsibility, cooperation, purpose, creativity and faith — follow, designed to unite communities, regardless of race, ethnicity or religion.

Black Westchester Magazine has compiled a brief list of Kwanzaa celebrations throughout the lower Hudson Valley. We will continue to update this list so if you know of a Kwanzaa Celebration in Westchester that are not listed please let us know so we can add it to our list.

Sister To Sister International Kwanza Celebration, Yonkers, Dec. 27 at 6-9 P.M. 
Fun & educational for the whole family, interactive Kwanzaa Ceremony, Libation (food), networking, music & dancing, vendors

When: Tuesday, Dec. 27 at 6:00 P.M. – 9:00 P.M.
Where: Nepperhan Community Center, 342 Warburton Avenue, Yonkers, NY 10701
(Parking on premises)
Info:  (914) 207-0368 or email:

The Doles Community Center, 250 S 6th Ave, Mount Vernon, Dec. 28 at 11 A.M. 
At Doles Community Center in Mount Vernon, the Pan-African celebration has an emphasis on giving and sharing.

“What we do is to encourage people to make things instead of purchase items,” says Eulahlee Myers, who organizes the yearly event. “It’s more personal; at least you spend quality times making it.”

The community event has been held for the last 10 years attracting upwards of 60 to 80 people of varying faiths to practice the seven principles of Kwanzaa including unity, self-determination, working together, supporting each other, purpose, creativity, and faith.

When: Wednesday, Dec. 28 at 11:00 A.M.
Where: 250 S 6th Ave, Mount Vernon
Info: (914) 665-2447

Mount Vernon Public Library Children’s Kwanzaa Workshop, December 28th
Get the children ready for a fun-filled cultural experience where they can learn about the beautiful meaning and practices of the festive Kwanzaa season.
The values of Kwanzaa, the Nguzo Saba (The Seven Principles), will be emphasized in ways that children can participate and understand. We encourage parents to participate as well.

When: Wednesday, Dec. 28 at 3:30 – 4:30 P.M.
Where: Mount Vernon Public Library 28 S 1st Ave, Mt Vernon, NY 10550
Info: (914) 668-1840 or

Slater Center Kwanzaa, Thomas H. Slater Center, 2 Fisher Court, White Plains, Dec. 28 
The White Plains Slater Center Kwanzaa celebration started by the Community Unitarian Universalist Congregation welcomes all faiths to participate in the community meal following a music program with  traditional drumming by Kofi, Sankofa Dance & Drum Ensemble, performances by YWCA GEMS, White Plains Youth Bureau, H.I.P. H.O.P., and White Plains Steppers.

The program is in its 12th year and attracts over 125 people. “Kwanzaa is an inter-generational event, in the tradition of the community which brings everyone, young and old together,” says Petra Thombs, an organizer of the White Plains event.

“It brings, specifically to the African-American community, cultural practices which teach, strengthen and celebrate our heritage.”

This year the group celebrates the third Kwanzaa principle, Ujima —meaning Collective Work and Responsibility — as a tool to build and maintain community.

When: Wednesday, Dec. 28th at 2:00 P.M.
Where: Thomas H. Slater Center, 2 Fisher Court, White Plains
Info: 914-948-6211

Umoja Kwanzaa Celebration 2016 – December 28th in Peekskill

When: Wednesday, Dec. 28th 2:00-8:00 P.M.
Where: The Kiley Youth Center located at 709 Main St, Peekskill, NY 10566
Info:  914-437-1431

Mount Vernon Public Library Family Kwanzaa Celebration, Dec. 29th

Be a part of the Library’s celebration of family, community and culture. Our event has gown increasingly popular over the years. While the typical celebration is a week-long, this one-day event will feature African drummers and dancers as well as the traditional lighting of the candles. Attendees can become familiar with or renew their knowledge of the 7 principles guiding the spirit of Kwanzaa.

When: Thursday, December 29th 6:00 P.M.
Where: Mount Vernon Public Library 28 S 1st Ave, Mt Vernon, NY 10550
Info: (914) 668-1840 or

New Rochelle 4th Annual Kwanzaa Celebration – December 29th

Sponsored by The Gathering of Men of New Rochelle Inc

Featured Speaker: Historian/ Community Activist James Small

Refreshments Will Be Served
Free Will Donation Requested
Please Wear Afrikan Attire, if you have it

When: Thursday, Dec. 29th at 7:00 P.M.
Where: 95 Lincoln Avenue, New Rochelle, NY 10801
Info: 914-384-1895 or email

Yonkers Annual Kwanzaa Celebration by African-American Heritage Committee Dec. 31

When: Saturday, Dec. 31 at 1:00 – 4:00 P.M.
Where: Yonkers Public Library – Riverfront Branch, Community Room A & B, 1 Larkin Center, Yonkers,

If you know of any Kwanzaa Celebrations in Westchester County that we left out please feel free to list them in the comment section below or email us the info and flyer to


  • Thank you for sharing this information. Every year I’m looking for events. This year I won’t miss activities in my neighborhood.

  • Thank you Black Westchester for always letting us know what’s going on! You always keep us informed.

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