It’s (almost) time to light up your nights—Hanukkah begins at sundown on December 7, and Kwanzaa begins on December 26—with plenty of ways to celebrate the traditions this month. Light the dark season with a bright show at the Season of Light in Glassboro, celebrate the seven principles of Kwanzaa at the Kwanzaa Community Celebration in Montclair, or visit a Hanukkah village with vendors, crafts, candy, and more celebrations at the Hanukkah Village Walk in Medford. And to pick up those special gifts, check out the winter markets in NJ. (featured photo credit: istock/MichaelHeimlich)
(Note: It’s always best to check ahead for in-person events)
Season of Light
December 3, 10, 17
Light the cold dark season with a warm and bright show celebrating all holidays. Season of Light explores why humans are fascinated with lighting up our lives during the December holiday season. This show traces the history and development of many of the world’s most endearing holiday customs, all of which involve lighting up the winter season — from the burning Yule log to the lighting of luminarias in the American Southwest and the traditional ritual of the Hanukkah Menorah.
Cost: $3 and up
Edelman Planetarium at Rowan University, Science Hall, 201 Mullica Hill Rd, Glassboro, NJ 08028
Jersey City Lighting
December 7 at 5 PM
The Historic Downtown Special Improvement District will combine a Menorah and Christmas Tree Lighting. Don’t miss the hot chocolate and cookies.
Newark Avenue Pedestrian Mall, 134-158 Newark Avenue, Jersey City, NJ 07302
Menorah Lighting and Gelt Drop
December 7 at 5 PM
At this community event on the first night of Hanukkah, there will be an 8-foot mega LED robot, Grand Menorah Lighting, a gelt drop, and treats for all.
430 Park Ave., Scotch Plains, NJ 07076
Medford Hanukkah Village Walk
December 7 at 5 PM
Take a Hanukkah village walk, visit vendors, and then see the Grand Menorah Lighting. There will also be a trackless train, latkes, candle-making, crafts, photo booths, candy, build a Lego Dreidel and lots of festive activities.
Medford Village Park and Main Street & Allen, Medford, NJ 08055
Ventnor City Menorah Lighting
December 8 at 4 PM
This South Jersey menorah lighting on the second night of Hanukkah will take place on the Sacramento side of Ventnor City Hall.
6201 Atlantic Avenue, Ventnor City, NJ 08406
Harambee Breakfast & Kwanzaa Celebration
December 9 at 9 AM
Feast on breakfast and learn more about Kwanzaa and the unique traditions that reinforce seven fundamental values of African culture, which contribute to building and supporting family, community, and culture among African American people and Africans worldwide.
Cost: $15 and up
The Renaissance, 1110 Valley Road, Ocean, NJ 07712
Voorhees Hanukkah on Ice
December 9 at 7:30 PM
Head to Flyers Skate Zone for a night of Hanukkah-themed fun. All ages can enjoy gelt, the giant menorah lighting, festive music, and refreshments. Admission includes doughnuts, a skate rental, and drinks.
601 Laurel Oak Avenue, Voorhees, NJ 08003
December 9 at 12:30 PM
Celebrate Kwanzaa with a festival that includes dance and musical performances, spoken word, a Kwanzaa marketplace, a photo booth, and memories made with the whole family.
Edison Job Corps, Athletic Center, 500 Plainfield Avenue, Edison, NJ 08817
Car Menorah Parade Cherry Hill
December 10 at 4 PM
The parade will be led by a car-top Menorah and a police escort through the streets of Cherry Hill. There will also be a menorah music truck, classic and antique cars, and first responder vehicles.
1925 Kresson Road to the Barclay Center, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003
Little Falls Public Hanukkah Celebration
December 11 at 7:30 PM
Come to Wilmore Park to celebrate Hanukkah in Little Falls with a public menorah lighting and fun.
Wilmore Road, Little Falls, NJ 07424
Woodland Park Public Hanukkah Celebration
December 12 at 7:30 PM
It’s the year of Hakhel, which means gathering. Bring the whole family to celebrate in Woodland Park on the first night of Hanukkah.
Dowling Gardens, 2 Dowling Parkway, Woodland Park, NJ 07424
Palmer Square Annual Menorah Lighting
December 12 at 4 PM
The Jewish Center of Princeton will be there for the annual lighting of the menorah in Palmer Square. There will be music and fun for the whole family.
Nassau Inn Patio, 10 Palmer Square, Princeton, NJ 08542
Bergen County Menorah Lighting Ceremony
December 13 at 6 PM
As part of the Bergen County Winter Wonderland, there will be a beautiful ceremony to light the menorah.
216 Forest Avenue, Paramus, NJ 07652
Hanukkah on the Morristown Green
December 13 at 5 PM
Bring everyone in the family to the annual Hanukkah Candle Lighting on Morristown Green. This festive event will have doughnuts, hot drinks, gelt, prizes, music, and more.
Morristown Green, Morristown, NJ 07960
Kwanzaa Community Celebration Montclair
December 16 at 12 PM
The Montclair Public Library will celebrate the Seven Principles of Kwanzaa with a festive community gathering. The event, which will be held at the Main Library, will feature traditional presentations, live entertainment, and programs that illustrate the historical elements of Kwanzaa. One such principle, cooperative economics, will be demonstrated during the Ujamaa Winter Market, featuring local vendors from Montclair and its surrounding communities. There will be balloon twisting, dance, and music.
50 South Fullerton Avenue, Montclair, NJ 0704
2023 Kwanzaa Celebration
December 16 at 12 PM
Head to the Vauxhall Branch Library for an afternoon celebrating Kwanzaa. There will be a performance from Newark-based Zawadi African Dance and Drum that includes a drum and dance showcasing the history of Africa. There will also be a talk titled “Kwanzaa: A Cultural Roadmap for Success.”
Vauxhall Branch of the Union Public Library, 123 Hilton Avenue, Vauxhall, NJ 07088
Collingswood Menorah Lighting
Join the community for a Menorah Lighting and Chanukah Celebration at the Lumberyard Garden (Collings and North Atlantic Avenues). The evening of fun for the whole family includes music, latkes, donuts, dreidels, and choco-gelt.
Collingswood, NJ 08108
Kwanzaa at New Jersey Performing Arts Center
December 23 at 9 AM
NJPAC honors the seven principles of Kwanzaa with free and joyous programs. The Kwanzaa Festival and Marketplace open at NJPAC on Saturday, December 23, at 9 AM; registration for the Free Kwanzaa Family Festival begins at 9 AM. The festivities include dance classes, storytelling, face painting, a Kwanzaa candle-lighting ceremony, live performances, and traditional foods. The festival is a collaboration between the Newark Museum of Art, Newark Arts, the City of Newark, Newark Symphony Hall, and Newark Public Library.
1 Center Street, Newark, NJ 07102
KWANZAA 365 Celebration
December 27 at 4:30 PM
Join performers, dancers, and speakers at this lively all-day celebration, which ends with a Kinara lighting ceremony (it will also be streaming live). There will also be events throughout the day, including arts and crafts, a gaming station, local storytelling, and giveaways.
Harambee Circle, 1 Memorial Drive, Trenton, NJ, 08608
22nd Annual Kwanzaa Celebration
December 27 at 5 PM
This is an event that is meant to be a celebration of family, community, and culture. There will be African storytelling, a traditional candle ceremony, spoken word, dance, and delicious cultural food.
Plainfield Performing Arts Center, 724 Park Avenue, Plainfield, NJ 07060
Community Kwanzaa Celebration
December 28 at 4:30 PM
Bring the family and celebrate Kwanzaa at this wonderful event. On the third floor of the Performing Arts Center, learn all about the second principles of Kwanzaa hosted by the NAACP New Brunswick Area Branch.
New Brunswick Performing Arts Center, 11 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ 08903
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