If celebrating the Christmas holiday in the conventional American manner isn’t your cup of hot chocolate, Philadelphia has the answer in many, many multicultural holiday events at attractions all around town for all to enjoy.
Whether observing Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or any number of other cultural traditions, there are ways to spend the remaining weeks in December (and maybe even some time off work) making merry in the City of Brotherly Love.
Of note, Zahav brings back its A Very Jewish Christmas dinner, serving up a multi-course menu of dim sum delicacies paired with an entertaining film. Also, back for its 31st year, families of all backgrounds are encouraged to attend Being [ ] at Christmas, an event that presents non-celebrators with music, games and more on Christmas Day itself. Plus, look forward to the annual family-friendly Kwanzaa Celebration at The African American Museum in Philadelphia.
Our picks for multicultural holiday events, below.
• Feast of the Virgin of Guadalupe at Cafe Ynez
Friday, December 12, Cafe Ynez, 2025 Washington Avenue. Mexico City-style dining came to Point Breeze when Cafe Ynez opened directly adjacent to NextFab Studio last spring. This holiday season, the 25-seat BYOB celebrates the Mexican tradition of the Feast of the Virgin of Guadalupe with a mole tamale brunch during the day or a chicken mole dinner in the evening, which includes a half chicken with mole, asparagus and mashed potatoes for jsut $12.MORE INFO
• Free @ The Kimmel Christmas Posada
Thursday, December 18, 5 p.m., Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Broad and Spruce streets. In Mexico, Las Posadas are festivities during the nine days before Christmas celebrating the Biblical journey of Mary and Joseph. The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts and the Mexican Cultural Center and the Mexican Consulate host a free, family-friendly event to mark this traditon in the expansive Commonwealth Plaza with a performance by renowned Mexican pianist Juan Pablo Horcasitas, traditional Mexican decorations and more. MORE INFO
• Holiday Music at Reading Terminal Market
Saturdays and Sundays through Sunday, January 4, Reading Terminal Market, 12th and Arch streets. Few places in Philadelphia reflect so much diversity as the Reading Terminal Market with its plethora of eats from nearly every culture. Every weekend, the market’s Center Court hosts live music and the rotating cast of musicians around the holidays nod to all of the cultures at home in the market’s halls. Of note, hear Ethipian-born singer Wanya play pan-African music to celebrate Kwanzaa on Sunday, December 28 and Paranda play Puerto Rican music to mark Three Kings Day on Sunday, January 4. MORE INFO
More multicultural holiday events, below.
• Cocktails & Candle Lighting
Thursday, December 18, 7 p.m., National Museum of American Jewish History, 101 S. Independence Mall East. Join the Young Friends of the National Museum of American Jewish History for a festive affair to celebrate Hanukkah with complimentary drinks, behind-the-scenes gallery tours and, of course, a lighting of the menorah. MORE INFO
• Festival of Lights at the Philadelphia Museum of Art
Friday, December 19, 5-8:45 p.m., Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The museum’s weekly Art After 5 soiree celebrates Hanukkah with music from DeLeon, a New York-based band that plays contemporary Sephardic folk music. The event is co-presented in partnership with Temple University’s Feinstein Center for American Jewish History and the “Sounds Jewish” series. MORE INFO
• Free @ The Kimmel Festival of Lights
Sunday, December 21, 1-4 p.m., Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Broad and Spruce streets. The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts and the National Museum of American Jewish History host a free, family-friendly celebration in the expansive Commonwealth Plaza with festive songs, stories, games and more. Plus, attendees will be given half-price admission to the National Museum of American Jewish History. MORE INFO
• Giant Menorah Lighting at Rittenhouse Square
Tuesday, December 23, 18th and Walnut streets, 6 p.m.; Ethical Society, 1906 Rittenhouse Square, 4:30 p.m. The annual lighting of the menorah in Rittenhouse Square is set for Tuesday, December 23 at 6 p.m. As dusk settles over the park, prayers will be sung and the first candle will be lit on one of the city’s largest menorahs. Before the lighting, join in the Community Chanukah Party at the Ethical Society at 4:30 p.m. Families can enjoy latkes, donuts and dreidels, as well as a magic show for $5 donation. MORE INFO
• Zahav’s A Very Jewish Christmas
Tuesday, December 23, 6 and 9 p.m., Zahav, 237 St. James Place. Now in its fifth year, Zahav’s A Very Jewish Christmas celebrates in the grand Jewish tradition with Israeli-inflected Chinese food and movies shown on a big screen. Seatings are available at both 6 and 9 p.m., and the event is $75 per person, which includes tons of dim sum, the movie, tax and gratuity. Tickets are on sale online. MORE INFO
• Moo Shu Jew Show
Wednesday, December 24, 6 p.m., Ocean Harbor Restaurant, 1023 Race Street. While celebrants across the country gather on December 24 to deck the halls, going out to the movies and a Chinese meal has become a veritable Christmas tradition for Jewish revelers. Building off of that idea, comedian Cory Kahaney created The Moo Shu Jew Show. For seven years now, this holiday event has given audiences a live alternative to Hollywood blockbusters and long waits for dim sum. Tickets, $69 in advance and $80 at the door, are available online. MORE INFO
• Being [ ] At Christmas
Thursday, December 25, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., National Museum of American Jewish History, 101 S. Independence Mall East. The annual Being [ ] at Christmas event is perfect for anyone who looking for a little family-friendly and non-denominational fun on Christmas day. Local businesses and entertainers will be in attendance to keep families amused all day with live music, crafts, comedy and more. MORE INFO
• The African American Museum’s Kwanzaa Celebration
Saturday, December 27, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sunday, December 28, noon-5 p.m., African American Museum in Philadelphia, 701 Arch Street. Bring the whole family out for a celebration of African culture and heritage. Coinciding with the museum’s final Macy’s Family Fun Day event in 2014, the two-day Kwanzaa celebration includes a range of festivities. To begin, Mlanjeni Nduma and the Amazing Mr. Q will lead candle-lighting ceremonies, talk about Kwanzaa and engage audiences in traditions such as call and response, singing, and dancing. PLus, Camara Arts will lead a West African dance and drum workshop and there will be tons of hands-on arts and crafts activities for kids of all ages. MORE INFO
• ‘Twas the Night Before Hanukkah
Through March 1, 2015, National Museum of American Jewish History, 101 S. Independence Mall East. In a special installation at the National Museum of American Jewish History, ’Twas the Night Before Hanukkah presents Hanukkah and Christmas music, musical stories and more in a cozy living room setting appointed with thoroughly modern technology. MORE INFO