City to Light Up Boathouse Row for Religious and Cultural Holiday Celebrations
PHILADELPHIA – Today, the City of Philadelphia announced plans to celebrate for Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa through public recognition and celebrations on one of the City’s iconic landmarks, Boathouse Row. The Philadelphia Department of Parks and Recreation, Office of the City Representative, and the Mayor’s Office of Public Engagement are joining together to produce these celebrations.
Beginning on Tuesday, December 12th, the City of Philadelphia will celebrate the holiday season by illuminating Boathouse Row in festive colors for the remainder of 2017. In the spirit of inclusiveness and to highlight the diversity of the city, the lights will celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa this year.
From December 12th until December 19th, Boathouse Row will be white and blue in honor of the Hanukkah holiday. The design of the lights will once again turn the houses into a menorah.
For the first night of Hanukkah, one house in the middle of the Row will be illuminated in white lights, representing the Shamash candle, and one house on the far right of the row will be illuminated in blue lights, representing the first candle, while the rest of the houses will be dark. Each successive evening at sundown one more house on Boathouse Row (representing that night’s candle) will turn blue, working from right to left in the Jewish tradition. By the eighth and final night of Hanukkah, all nine buildings representing the Menorah will be lit.
The City will host an event with the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia on the first night of Hanukkah, Tuesday, December 12th, at the Fairmount Fish Ladder on Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) Drive at 5:30 pm. The festive program will feature traditional prayers and songs, culminating in the illumination of the lights on Boathouse Row at 6:00 pm. More information about Hanukkah on Boathouse Row can be found HERE.
MLK Drive will be shut down to traffic between Eakins Oval and Sweet Briar Drive beginning at 5:00pm so that attendees can walk to the gathering spot across from Boathouse Row. Attendees with mobility issues can drive and park closer to the event by accessing MLK Drive at the outbound entrance off of Eakins Oval. All Philadelphians are encouraged to come out to celebrate the Festival of Lights.
From December 20th until December 25th, Boathouse Row will be red, green, silver and gold in honor of the Christmas holiday. At the top of every hour after 6:00 pm, the lights will be programmed to display a 5-minute light show which will be visible from various vantage points including the Fairmount Water Works, the Fish Ladder on MLK Drive and the Spring Garden Street Bridge.
And new this year, from December 26th until January 1st, Boathouse Row will be lit red, green and black in honor of the Kwanzaa holiday. The design of the lights will turn the houses into a Kinara, the seven candles used in celebrating the festival of Kwanzaa. For the first day of Kwanzaa, one house in the middle of the row will be illuminated in yellow lights only on the roof, representing the middle black candle and its flame, while the rest of the houses will be dark. Each successive evening one more house on Boathouse Row (representing that night’s candle) will be lit beginning with red on the left and ending with green on the right. By the seventh and final day of Kwanzaa, all seven buildings representing the Kinara will be lit to reflect the Seven Principles of Kwanzaa.
Kwanzaa is a non-religious, cultural African American and Pan-African holiday, celebrated worldwide by people of African descent. The holiday focuses on the cultural, ethical, and spiritual visions and values of African culture.
This year, the City joins the Kwanzaa Cooperative to host an event on the first night of Kwanzaa, Tuesday, December 26th, to celebrate the Boathouse Row lights being lit to honor the holiday for the first time. This event will also be held at the Fairmount Fish Ladder on MLK Drive at 5:30 pm. The festive program will feature speakers and entertainment, culminating in the illumination of the lights on Boathouse Row at 6:00 pm.
MLK Drive will be shut down to traffic between Eakins Oval and Sweet Briar Drive beginning at 5:00pm so that attendees can walk to the gathering spot across from Boathouse Row. Attendees with mobility issues can drive and park closer to the event by accessing MLK Drive at the outbound entrance off of Eakins Oval. Please RSVP to KwanzaaBoathouseRow2017.eventbrite.com.
All events are free and will be open to the public.