One of the most popular holidays in the world is Christmas. In Africa the holiday is celebrated on a whole different level. It is always a colorful, loud and festive event full of lots of fanfare. In Africa Christmas is not just celebrated by Christians, everyone is involved. You are sure to see someone of another faith selling Christmas souvenirs and wishing others a “Merry Christmas.”
Africans are recognized all over the world as big party lovers so you can imagine how Christmas is celebrated all over the continent. We are just a few days away from Christmas and we thought it wise to bring you a few traditions synonymous with Christmas on the African continent.
Without wasting time let’s go through some of the famous Christmas traditions in Africa:
Everyone travels home
Christmas is one period when the cities get empty and home towns get full. It is the peak of urban-rural migration. People leave the urban areas for the so-called countryside. In most African countries city dwellers have spent money to build lavish homes in their hometowns where they stay during the Christmas holidays. After all what is the essence of working all year and not spending the most important holidays of the year with your loved ones?
Growing up as kids we all wanted to show off our new clothes at Christmas. Christmas without new clothes was definitely no Christmas. Adults are also not left out of this tradition and sellers take advantage of the festive rush to hike prices, they are assured people will still spend money to get some new clothes. Tailors also get huge orders, sometimes more than they can handle.
Christmas morning church service
Step out on Christmas morning and you find so many people trooping to church, most going to hear the same sermons they have heard all their lives. It is never boring, it somehow is always new to the ears. Some even believe the services are not for the messages but a means to show off the new Christmas clothes.
Food magically tastes better
It is almost like magic, it seems Christmas itself adds some secret spice to the food to make sweeter than normal. You probably ate the same food over a hundred times that year but eating it on Christmas morning makes it totally different. There is a magical new delicious taste that disappears after the Christmas season.
Lots of sharing
Everything is shared, from delicious delicacies to drinks and gifts. People do not just share with their family members, they invite neighbors and friends. In some parts of Africa food and drinks are carried to neighbors’ houses in the spirit of Christmas. Even non-Christian neighbors get to take part in the wining and dining.
Numerous cultural displays
Africa has diverse cultures most of which are put on display in different parts of the continent during Christmas. Everything is brought to the table, dances, songs, dramas, and even masquerades, all to show off the amazing African culture. It is a great time to take photos and shoot videos to build memoirs for the future.
Christmas goes beyond “Christmas day”
In different parts of Africa Christmas celebration has different durations. In Ghana for example, Christmas is early as celebrations commence from the first day of December. In Ethiopia it is pushed to January 7, a function of the Julian calendar. Regardless of when it is celebrated or for how long, Christmas is still the most fun part of the year.
We all look to the Christmas celebrations this year as it promises to be another time of unlimited fun. We at MBBA wish you a “Merry Christmas,” enjoy the holidays.