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The Odunde Festival

February 22, 2013

The Odunde Festival is one of the longest running, and largest African American street celebrations in the country.  And it  just so happens that it takes place in the city of Philadelphia!

Lois Fernandez created Odunde in 1975. “Odunde” originates from the Yoruba people of Nigeria and translates to “happy new year.” One of the main reasons for birthing the festival was to celebrate the multifaceted aspects of African culture and to educate the community at large about African roots in the area.

The festival spans a week full of events that include anything from Zumba dance gatherings to concerts to over two hundred street vendors selling jewelry and a variety of African cuisines. Odunde culminates with an elaborate all-day street festival that spans over twelve blocks in South Philly. In the past, this event has attracted a crowd of half a million people, from the Philadelphia area as well as vendors from Ghana, Guinea, Nigeria, and Senegal.

This year’s festival will be held from June 2nd to June 9th on 23rd and South Streets. The festival runs most of the day, is free to attend and all are welcomed.

— Victoria Ford CAS ’15

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