If you’re spending Christmas in Ethiopia, you’ll have to wait a little longer than December 25, as most people follow the ancient Julian calendar and celebrate the holiday on January 7. One of the most popular gifts across Africa is new clothes. Whether you’re just visiting for the Christmas holidays or you find yourself settling into ex-pat life in France, you’ll want to familiarise yourself with some of France ’s most interesting Christmas traditions.. With normal Christmas traditions such as advent calendars and the standard Christmas Eve gift-giving rituals, some French Christmas traditions … You can even read about the American slave experience in the children’s story, Irene Jennie and the Christmas Masquerade. Boxing Day is also a public holiday in South Africa … Your email address will not be published. A summer Christmas in South Africa. They even decorate mosques with Christmas trees. The Christmas Tree. All that vitality comes to life through the festive mood of the people. Do you know any African Christmas traditions? With over 350 million Christians living in the continent, many Southern and West African countries celebrate Christmas with massive festivities, even those that are predominantly Muslim. Christmas Celebration in the Kenya – Things which are included in festivity celebration. Who needs snow for Christmas decorations? Read more about Christmas traditions in Africa, e.g. On Christmas day afternoon, people visit family and friends or might go for a trip into the country side to play games or have a swim. I’m glad it was helpful. Here are some traditions followed by all the African countries celebrating Christmas. The Gambia celebrates Christmas with a massive parade with large lanterns called fanal in the shape of boats. As a result, many Asian countries that do celebrate Christmas simply follow Western customs and traditions, such as Midnight Mass and the exchange of gifts (but not without enthusiasm). The fanals are lit with candles inside and carried from house to house to collect donations. Learn more about Lydia and Louisa and why they started Africa Wanderlust. Christmas, celebrated by most Christians on December 25, commemorates the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. Christmas Day, celebrated on December 25 in Catholic, Protestant, and most Orthodox churches, is a public holiday in South Africa. People used to travel their native place or villages from town and the traffic during the Christmas season becomes a nightmare in Kenya because everyone is travelling. In many African countries, it symbolizes the birth of African God Ra (Osiris). It was created by Maulana Karenga, based on African harvest festival traditions from various parts of Africa, including West and Southeast Africa. No matter the size of the Christian population, almost every country in Africa has its own amazing way to celebrate the spiritual side of Christmas. RELATED CONTENT: 9 once-in-a-lifetime things to do in Tanzania with Trafalgar. In fact, flowers are blooming, the sun is shining and everything is alive. Christmas Calendars: Supporting an animal shelter or worthy causes couldn’t be easier. The locals also usually buy their new clothes months in advance, as the shops are notorious for hiking up the prices in December since they know people will come to buy their new Christmas clothes. You’ll also find nativity scenes, nativity plays, dance performances, communion tables and carolling. Cultural Differences. When they get to the location, usually a park with a lot of open space, they start the love feast. Keep on reading! Families can opt for making braai on the grill or cook more traditional South African dishes. When it comes to Christmas celebration, Africa … They usually have grandparents from the countryside to be part of this special day. On TV. In east Africa they roast a whole goat. Americans, like many of the world’s peoples, have developed their own Christmas traditions and observances, and these have changed greatly over time. Either way, Christmas is a time for family and merrymaking. Sharo happens when two young men want to marry the same woman. Also, most restaurants and shops will be closed since it is a national holiday, so most people do grocery shopping well in advance. Since some dominant Muslim countries like Egypt and Sierra Leone do celebrate Christmas, between 38 and 41 African countries, celebrate Christmas.The most dominate Christian countries include: Angola (79%), Benin (42.8%), Botswana (70%), Burkina Faso (30%), Burundi (75%+), Cameroon (70%), Cape Verde (93%), Central African Republic (91%), Chad (40%), Comoros (71.9%), Democratic Republic of the Congo (95.7%), Republic of the Congo (50%), Equatorial Guinea (90%), Eritrea (50%), Eswatini (88%), Ethiopia (62.8%), Gabon (80%), Ghana (71.2%), Ivory Coast (33.9%), Kenya (84.8%), Lesotho (95%), Liberia (85.5%), Madagascar (41%), Malawi (85%), Mauritius (32.7%), Mozambique (51.6%), Namibia (90%), Nigeria (40%), Rwanda (59.6%), São Tomé and Príncipe (80%), Seychelles (76%), South Africa (80%), South Sudan (60.5%), Tanzania (61.4%), Togo (38%), Uganda (84%), Zambia (96%), and Zimbabwe (85%).These African countries have less than 21% Christian population: Algeria, Djibouti, Egypt (15%), Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Senegal, Sierra Leone (15-21%), Somalia, Sudan, Tunisia; with Sierra Leone and Egypt being the highest rate at 21% and 15% respectively. This website uses cookies. Popular traditional dishes include turkey, duck, mince pie, roast beef, and pudding-like Plum pudding imported from the UK, and the locally invented Malva pudding. Also, depending on what tribe a family is from, they will make meals from their trip. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn a commission.". No matter what country you visit, you will notice the significance of the church in Christmas celebrations. In Sierra Leone and much of Gambia , for example, towns and villages celebrate with masquerade parties, extending the celebration beyond the faith community to include the whole town or village in the holiday spirit. Common Christmas Traditions in Africa Going to Church. From a camel-riding Santa to masquerade parties, here are 6 wonderful African Christmas traditions. Kwanzaa is an annual celebration of African-American culture that is held from December 26 to January 1, culminating in a communal feast called Karamu, usually held on the 6th day. The churches hold ceremonies and events during the day. Christmas: Around the World: Christmas in Africa. You can see a list of the most popular Nigerian food during the festive season. African history has an additional layer to the worldwide known account of Christmas. In the Christmas morning, African people and groups of carolers walk around the village and sing Christmas carols. While in Zambia, the churches hold nativity plays and locals sing beautiful carols in the streets. These children usually receive gifts afterward. South Africans agree, with their famous outdoor braais, or special barbecues at Christmas time. Of course, there are several variations to celebrating an African Christmas, depending on if you are single, have a family, or the elderly. The most commonly prepared main dish consists of turkey, goat, sheep, or chicken, and side dishes range from fried rice to jollof rice, skewed beef (suya), and vegetable salads. Read more about Christmas traditions in Africa, e.g. Church congregations play a crucial role by organizing events to visit the orphanages, adult family, and homeless homes, to visit the families and children. They then go to home to wear festive clothes and take love offerings for Jesus to … But in many African nations, it means the party’s just getting started! Community service is also a considerable part of an African Christmas in Nigeria. "Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. Buying gifts is also quite rare since people cannot afford it. Egypt and Ethiopia follow the Julian calendar, so they celebrate Christmas on January 7th. Share with us in the comments below! EXPERIENCE IT FOR YOURSELF: African Safari Adventure, A post shared by Kaluhi (@kaluhiskitchen). While the majority of countries in Africa celebrate Christmas on December 25th, it’s not the same everywhere. The supper is usually served with lamb or sheep. With the traditional touch, each African country has its handmade decorative items. Christmas is often associated with North America and European countries showcasing glowing Christmas light shows, winter markets, parades, and picturesque views of snow-capped mountains. People who live in rural areas try their best with the available resources like food and electricity to be part of the Christmas celebration. For almost everyone in Africa, Christmas is a time to gather with friends and family, go to church and enjoy a big feast – but every country also has its own unique festive traditions. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. So, when African people decorate trees during this period, they are sending regards to ancient times when Ra’s birthday was celebrated. Christmas in Africa. Many South Africans have their traditional holiday meal of a barbeque or braai, or the traditional big Christmas roast even though it is hot and sunny. The Fulani tribe live in many countries in West Africa and follow a tradition called Sharo. Christmas in Congo In Congo in Africa, a group is assigned to prepare an annual Christmas pageant. We use cookies to analyze our traffic, enhance our website’s functionality and performance, and a better experience for our users. Please let me know if you have any questions or if we could help in any way. Africa has diverse cultures most of which are put on display in different parts of the continent during Christmas. In a larger family, one family member hosts the celebration, and kids, grandkids, parents, grandparents, friends and families, and people in the community are invited to come to have fun. Christmas is one of the most festive times in Nigeria, and it is time people spend with their families to show appreciation to their loved ones. Almost everyone in the world agrees that Christmas … Here is why! Putting a price on the bride. Almost everyone in the world agrees that Christmas is all about the birth of Jesus… and enjoying a feast. Christmas … The Rockettes - Since 1925, first known as the Missouri Rockets, this iconic dance troupe has been … Some Christmas Traditions in the South Africa is same as UK because of its history with UK. You will barely see any Christmas trees or fancy Christmas lights Jesus… and enjoying feast. Of carolers walk around the village and sing while other children play traditional instruments in Africa. 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