Kwanzaa Family Events in Metro Detroit and Ann Arbor

Honor African heritage and celebrate African-American culture at one of these Kwanzaa family events in southeast Michigan.

kwanzaa family events in metro detroit and ann arbor

Christmas might be the big celebration in December, but it certainly isn’t the only one that offers fun for families. The cold and snowy final month of the year also features other religious and historical holidays, alongside cultural ones like Kwanzaa.

During this holiday, which runs Dec. 26-Jan. 1 every year, Americans of African descent from all over the country gather to celebrate African heritage.

This includes learning about the seven principles of Kwanzaa – unity, self-determination, work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith.

In metro Detroit and Ann Arbor, cultural institutions and organizations step these celebrations up a notch with a variety of Kwanzaa family events for the whole family.

Here are some of our favorite happenings in Macomb, Oakland, Wayne and Washtenaw counties.

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Kwanzaa Celebration Wayne State University in Detroit 

Dec. 3, 2018

  • Address: Wayne State University, Alex Manoogian Ethnic Heritage Building, 906 W. Warren Ave., Detroit
  • Phone: 313-577-5052
  • Time: 5:30-9 p.m.
  • Cost: Free

The Black Student Union and Department of African American Studies at Wayne State University put on this event that explores the importance of Kwanzaa and its origins, too. African attire is welcome. Food and activities are also in store.

Kwanzaa at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti

Dec. 6, 2018

  • Address: Eastern Michigan University, Honors College, 511 W. Forest Ave., Ypsilanti
  • Phone: 248-894-4363
  • Time: 6-9 p.m.
  • Cost: Free

Learn about the cultural traditions of Kwanzaa and reaffirm human dignity in community and culture at this event, which is presented by the Center for Multicultural Affairs at Eastern Michigan University.

Nanou Djiapo Kwanzaa Celebration at the International Institute of Metropolitan Detroit in Detroit

Dec. 15, 2018

  • Address: International Institute of Metropolitan Detroit, 111 E. Kirby St., Detroit
  • Phone: 313-363-5985
  • Time: 6-9 p.m.
  • Cost: $25/person

Nanou Djiapo and Assane Mbaye perform traditional African drumming and dance. Performances by community guests TeMaTe Dance Arts, Boggs African Drum & Dance and Afro-Cuban Community Dance, too.

Kwanzaa: A Celebration of Unity and Pride at the Ann Arbor District Library

Dec. 21, 2018

  • Address: Ann Arbor District Library Downtown Branch, 343 S. Fifth Ave., Ann Arbor
  • Phone: 734-327-4200
  • Time: 7-8:30 p.m.
  • Cost: Free

Elizabeth James from the Afroamerican and African Studies Department at the University of Michigan discusses the history of Kwanzaa and how it’s celebrated today.

Kwanzaa at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History 

Dec. 26, 2018-Jan. 1, 2019

  • Address: Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, 315 E. Warren Ave., Detroit
  • Phone: 313-494-5800
  • Time: 6-9 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, 3-6 p.m. Sunday-Tuesday
  • Cost: Free

Find community performances, panel discussions and cultural presentations in celebration of each of the seven principles of Kwanzaa.

The Royal Kwanzaa Tour at the Detroit Institute of Arts

Dec. 28-29, 2018

  • Address: Detroit Institute of Arts, 5200 Woodward Ave., Detroit
  • Phone: 313-983-9216
  • Time: 4-6 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-noon Saturday
  • Cost: $20/adult tour, $15/ages 9-12 tour, free/8 and under tour, fees/parking and museum admission

Jamon Jordan of the Black Scroll Network History & Tours takes curious museum visitors on a tour of the Egyptian and African exhibits at the DIA to teach families how African culture influenced European, American and African-American culture.

Kwanzaa Celebration at Bowens Senior Center in Pontiac

Dec. 28-29, 2018

  • Address: Robert Bowens Senior Center, 52 Bagley St., Pontiac
  • Time: 5:30-7:30 p.m.
  • Cost: Free

The women of the Theta Lambda Omega Chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority put on this event to teach community members about the seven principles of Kwanzaa. Food and entertainment provided. All ages welcome.

Kwanzaa Candle Lighting at Source Booksellers in Detroit

Dec. 29, 2018

  • Address: Source Booksellers, 4240 Cass Ave., Suite 105, Detroit
  • Phone: 313-832-1155
  • Time: 2-4 p.m.
  • Cost: Free

On the fourth day of Kwanzaa this independent bookstore lights the candle for Ujamaa, or cooperative economics, as a reminder for the community to build and maintain local businesses together.

Touray Friends and Family Kwanzaa Celebration at Your Emerging Space in Pontiac

Dec. 30, 2018

  • Address: Your Emerging Space, 7 N. Saginaw St., Pontiac
  • Phone: 248-977-1913
  • Time: 5-10 p.m.
  • Cost: Donation of a dish that feeds at least eight people

This fifth annual celebration offers a night of fun, fun and fellowship in celebration of the holiday. In addition, expect a libation ceremony, game tournaments, films, discussions and lectures.

Kids Kwanzaa Club Celebration at Full Truth Fellowship of Christ Church in Detroit

Jan. 1, 2019

  • Address: Full Truth Fellowship of Christ Church, 4458 Joy Road, Detroit
  • Phone: 313-896-0233
  • Time: 2-4 p.m.
  • Cost: Free

Local kids gather at the church to meet with church leadership, learn about the seven principles of Kwanzaa, participate in a candle lighting, listen to stories and more.

Do you know of any other Kwanzaa family events in southeast Michigan? Tell us about them in the comments.

Photo from the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History

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