Don’t put away your holiday spirit just yet! For many African-American families, the festivities are just getting started. On Dec. 26, Kwanzaa, the celebration that honors seven principles designed to promote unity, culture, community and African heritage begins and lasts through Jan. 1. Follow along with us as we discover ways to help celebrate this culturally rich tradition that culminates with a feast everyone can enjoy!

photo: via Pretend City

Pretend City
Head down to Pretend City where they light a candle, each day, on the Kinara and celebrate the seven principles (or Nguzo Saba) of Kwanzaa through storytime and crafts. Little ones will learn about Nguzo Saba in a fun way while meeting new characters specific to African-American folklore. Parents will appreciate the principles of unity and creativity and kids will have a ball making traditional crafts. Stick around after class and enjoy the sights (and free play) where kids get to explore “the world in a nut-shell.”

Pretend City
29 Hubble
Irvine, CA 92618

photo: via Earl Gibson, III

Lula Washington Dance Theater
The Lula Washington Theater hosts their annual Kwanzaa dance recital featuring students ages 3 and up. At this extraordinary community event, dancers take the audience on a journey through the Nguzo Saba. The performers have spent the better part of the year rehearsing for this Kwanzaa recital and (wow!) does it show. From ballet to jazz to African, performers blend a variety of styles while sharing the story of this tradition. Kiddos and parents, watching the show, will be amazed by the live drum music and accompanying moves. The good news is, there are three shows this year, including a matinee performance that is perfect for little ones.

Lula Washington Dance Theatre
3773 Crenshaw Blvd

photo: Fran H. via Yelp

Karamu Feast
On the last night of Kwanzaa, observers indulge in perhaps the most anticipated custom of all, Karamu or the feast. Join in this delicious tradition and support African-American owned eateries while savoring soul food dishes like mac ‘n cheese, yams and collard greens. Our faves to feast at are My Two Cents which offers traditional soul food, Comfort LA for “clean” (think organic) soul food and Honey’s Kettle for Southern fried chicken and biscuits.

Do you celebrate Kwanzaa? Let us know in the comments your favorite ways to celebrate this rich tradition!

—Janelle Connor