What celebrating Kwanzaa really means

Every semester, Georgia State students are introduced to different cultures and their respective traditions, beliefs and rituals. Since 1997, the Department of African Studies has hosted an event that shares the holiday of Kwanzaa with those who are familiar or new to the end-of-the-year celebration. This year, the event will be Friday, Dec. 7 from noon-1 p.m. at The Rialto Center for the Arts.

This Kwanzaa event will teach the Georgia State community about the origins and the purpose of the holiday. Georgia State professors will discuss its importance and the different ways it can be celebrated.

Kwanzaa is a weeklong celebration held in the United States honoring African-American heritage and culture. It is observed from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1 each year and ends with a feast and gift-giving. Maulana Karenga created the holiday in 1966 as the first specified African-American holiday.

The Rialto’s 15th annual Kwanzaa Celebration will begin with libations. A libation is a ritual pouring of a liquid as an offering to a god or spirit or in memory of those who have died. Students from the Sankofa Society, which provides cultural programs on the African Diaspora, will demonstrate this ritual.

Children will put on a performance that Belinda Futrell, the business manager of the Department of African Studies, said the Georgia State community loves. From Kilombo Academic & Cultural Institute, children ranging from kindergarten to eighth grade will go over the seven principles of Kwanzaa.

Spoken word performers, including Georgia State student and author Jihad Uhuru, will be sharing their different styles of the art of poetry during the event.

Following the celebration, there will be a reception from 1-3 p.m. Admission is free and refreshments will be served.