Kwanzaa 2013
5:15 pm
Fri December 27, 2013

The Holidays Aren't Over for Some Atlantans

Christmas and Hanukah are over. But thousands of metro Atlantans are celebrating another holiday.

Hear the audio version of this story.

Friday is the second day of Kwanzaa. Although it’s often lumped in with Christmas and Hanukah, Ahmed Sekou Toure says Kwanzaa isn’t really a religious celebration.

“Kwanzaa is a celebration of family, culture and community,” he says.  

Toure is the chairman of the Metro Atlanta Kwanzaa Association. Kwanzaa was developed by an African-American college professor in the mid-1960s after the Watts Riots near Los Angeles. The riots were sparked by allegations of police brutality during the arrest of an African-American man who was pulled over for drunk driving. Toure says Dr. Maulana Karenga, a professor of Black Studies at California State University, created the seven-day celebration to unify the African-American community.

There are seven principles celebrated during Kwanzaa, one on each of the seven days of the holiday.
Credit Martha Dalton/WABE News

“He was a trained political and cultural scientist that was looking for things that would give our community and our nation a better purpose and direction, looking at all the key crises in black life that were going on at that particular time in 1966,” Toure says.

The celebration lasts from December 26 to January 1. A different principle is celebrated each day. Toure says the second principle, celebrated today, is self-determination.

“That means to define for ourselves, create for ourselves and speak for ourselves, instead of being defined, named and created and spoken for by others,” he says.  

Toure says some families celebrate Kwanzaa at home. But, he says, there are also several public celebrations across the metro Atlanta area.

Click here to find Kwanzaa events in metro Atlanta.