- Lauren Booker For the AJC
Atlanta is the place to be for must-see Kwanzaa celebrations. In high anticipation of the cultural holiday, events are popping up around the city well before Kwanzaa, which is observed from Dec. 26 (Umoja) - Jan. 1 (Imani). If you're wondering what Kwanzaa is all about, it's a secular holiday that draws from various African cultures.
From film screenings to dance shows, events rich with heritage, creativity and education, will pique the interest of all attendees.
Here's your guide to seven Kwanzaa celebrations happening around Atlanta:
5 p.m. Dec. 19, 359 Auburn Avenue NE, Atlanta, GA 30312
Join Wheat Street Baptist Church during their Kwanzaa celebration. The inaugural event, which is free and open to the public, will commemorate the 142nd birthday of Dr. Carter G. Woodson, who is known as the "Father of Black History Month." It will be an evening of fellowship, food and dancing. Before the event is over at 7:30 p.m., a Mr. & Ms. Association for the Study of African American Life and History and Mr. & Ms. Kwanzaa Youth Achievers will be named.
1-8 p.m. Dec. 23, 55 Trinity Ave. SW, Atlanta, GA 30303
Come out to one of the most popular Kwanzaa events in Atlanta hosted by Marley Media Productions. The expo, which attracted more than 900 attendees last year, will celebrate Kwanzaa through learning more about finances and commerce. There will be African American businesses in the expo's marketplace, seminars and performances. RSVP for free tickets.
4 p.m.Dec. 28, 101 Auburn Ave. NE, Atlanta, Georgia 30303
Celebrate the third day of Kwanzaa at this free event hosted by the Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History. Watch an "all sistah" dance group called Giwayen Mata perform soul-stirring moves. During the celebratory concert, libations will be flowing and candles will be lit in commemoration of Kwanzaa. Register for free tickets.
6-10 p.m.Dec. 29, 946 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd., Atlanta, Georgia 30310
Watch an exclusive screening of Black Friday 2 hosted by Black Friday The Movement at the Shrine of the Black Madonna. The film is about entrepreneurship, race and finances and promotes the fourth principle of Kwanzaa, collective economics. Tickets are available on Eventbrite, where you can make a suggested donation to the organization.
8-10 p.m.Dec. 30, 915 New Hope Rd. SW, Atlanta, Georgia 30331
Get into the holiday spirit by attending a showing of "Girl Why You Dance Like That?", which showcases the fusion of African traditional dance and Hip Hop. Tickets for the event, hosted by Terrie Ajile Axam of Total Dance, Dancical Productions Inc., are $20 for General Admission, $15 for students and seniors and $10 for children 12 and younger.
Dec. 30, 2-7 p.m., 3951 Snapfinger Parkway, Decatur, GA 30035
Round up the kids for this jamboree hosted by Liberated Minds Black Homeschool & Education Institute. The event will feature fun for the little ones, such as storytelling, face painting and crafts. The seven principles of Kwanzaa will also be taught to the kids. Admission is free for children and $10 for adults.
1-6 p.m. Jan. 1, 1530 DeKalb Ave., Suite A, Atlanta, Georgia 30307
Celebrate Imani, the seventh principle of Kwanzaa, which stands for faith, at this event hosted by Chef Carla Rabb DeRosa and Chef Beee. The afternoon event will feature a Kwanzaa presentation, kids' activities and food samples. Holistic practioners will also be available to recommend wellness options, such as essential oils and raw food. Admission is $10 at the door, but advance tickets are free on Eventbrite if you bring a dish.