Montclair Public Library plans Kwanzaa festivities


MONTCLAIR, NJ – The Montclair Public Library will celebrate Kwanzaa with a series of events in December, starting with its first Ujamaa outdoor winter market on December 4.

The celebration builds on the library’s 32-year tradition of showcasing Kwanzaa as the keystone of its winter programming.

“Ujamaa” is one of the seven principles of Kwanzaa, emphasizing the cooperative economy. With that in mind, the Ujamaa open-air winter market will feature culinary delights and products from local chefs, artisans and entrepreneurs. In addition to holiday shopping and food trucks outside the main library, visitors can enjoy a series of free performances inside the building.

An iPad card making class on December 15 and a virtual Kwanzaa program on December 26 (the first official day of Kwanzaa) will complete the library’s offering. See below for event details.

Saturday December 4 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Main Library (Plaza), 50 S. Fullerton Avenue
Browse and shop for culinary delights and products from local chefs, artisans and entrepreneurs. A list of vendors and food trucks will be posted on In addition, a series of free performances will take place inside and outside the Library.

Bad weather date: December 11



Twisting Balloon, December 4, 10-11 a.m., Main Library (Lobby)

Reading Magic Show, December 4, 11:15 a.m. – 12 p.m., Main Library (Auditorium)

The master magician ISLANDMAGIC will fascinate with his quick card tricks, his mind games and his magnificent production of white doves in this show with Caribbean accents with soca and reggae rhythms. No registration required, but the number of places is limited.

Kora Music by Salieu Suso, December 4, 11 a.m.-11:45 a.m., Main Library (Plaza)

Salieu Suso is a master player of kora, a soothing 12-string harp from West Africa. Coming from a family tradition of Jalis (musician-historians), he is also a composer, arranger and teacher of West African music and culture. No registration required.

Live music by Kassaye Selassie, December 4, 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., Main Library (Auditorium)

Kassaye Selassie is a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist from Bloomfield, NJ, influenced by Ethiopian and American jazz as well as Rhythm & Blues. Performing with several groups and solo over the years, he has performed at Bitter End, Sullivan Hall, Oakeside Mansion and the illustrious Hammerstein Ballroom. No registration required, but the number of places is limited.

Wednesday December 15, 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Main Library, 50 S. Fullerton Avenue
Cost: $ 35
Instructor: Mansa Mussa

Have you ever thought about designing your own greeting card for Kwanzaa, Christmas or Hanukkah? Here’s your chance to do it using your iPad, a photo app, and a little imagination. Students should bring their own iPad and Perfect Image Pic Collage Maker, an app that can be purchased from the Apple App Store. Registration required on this link.

Sunday December 26, 2 p.m.-2:45 p.m.
Virtual (Zoom)
To free

Kwanzaa expert Culture Queen will teach the Seven Principles of Kwanzaa through interactive music, movement, storytelling, and black history-themed games. This signature Culture Kingdom Kids program is suitable for all ages and will leave participants feeling more inspired to incorporate Kwanzaa into their family traditions. Registration required:
Register once per family. The Zoom link will be sent to registrants. If you miss the live stream, email [email protected] for a recording link available through January 1.

About Kwanzaa at the Montclair Public Library
Founded by Dr. Maulana Karenga in 1966, Kwanzaa is the seven-day African American festival that celebrates culture, family and community from December 26 to January 1. Since 1989, the Montclair Public Library has organized a Kwanzaa event. The event has grown each year and has become an important part of the Library’s winter programming, cultivated by former MPL staff, Brother Saalik Cuevas and Matilda Williams. The coronavirus pandemic has forced the Library to adapt in 2020 with the virtual program “Harambee! Songs and Stories for Kwanzaa with April Armstrong ”, and in 2021 with a mainly outdoor Winter Market. 2021 will be the Library’s 32nd year celebrating Kwanzaa with the community of Montclair.


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