At the African American Museum in Philadelphia, Kwanzaa kicks off with a bang

The African American Museum in Philadelphia celebrates Kwanzaa.
Photo credit Justin Udo/KYW Newsradio
PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — It's the first night of Kwanzaa, and the African American Museum in Philadelphia is working to educate people on just what Kwanzaa is.

Unity, Self-determination, and purpose are just a few of the principles observed during the seven days of Kwanzaa.

"Kwanzaa is the celebration of the harvest, going along with family and community, and the social uplift that we're all aiming for to bring everybody together, to bring it away from materiality that this season is currently facing," explained the museum's Hannah Wallace.

Wallace says the tradition, which dates back to the 1960s, gives them a chance to educate the masses on African and African American culture and history.

"It's doing something for our communities that really brings us together authentically," she said. 

The museum kicked off their celebration Thursday with a program that included, food, dancing, music, and poetry.

"We're going to have activities in the galleries that celebrate each day of Kwanzaa, so that's going to be during our general hours and general admission, but it's going to be an enhanced museum experience," she added. 

The name Kwanzaa comes from the phrase "matunda ya kwanza," which means first fruits in the Swahili.