In many countries, processions take place after a church service held on Christmas Eve. People also like to pull Christmas Crackers! 5)How about "And there won't be snow in Africa this Christmas time"? In Ghana, on Africa's west coast, most churches herald the coming of Christmas by decorating the church and homes beginning … Kwanzaa (the celebration of African heritage observed in the United States and often associated with the festive season) is not celebrated in Africa. It is a day off for the general population, and schools and most businesses are closed. These are often joyous occasions of music and dance. The Christmas season is arguably the most celebrated season in Nigeria, because everyone (except for Muslims living in the north) gathers to celebrate the Yuletide season. On Christmas Day the family gathers at a ‘braai’, which is the South African version of a barbecue (BBQ). The emphasis is more on the religious celebration of the birth of Jesus than it is on gift giving. Have a look. Ironically, Christmas paraphernalia including cards, wrapping paper, and decorations still use traditional motifs including snowmen and reindeer. Even in the northern half of the continent, you have very little chance of enjoying a white Christmas (unless you're in the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco). Most people go to Church on Christmas Eve in Madagascar. Therefore, if gifts are exchanged in poorer communities they usually take the form of school books, soap, cloth, candles, and other practical goods. Duh! Happy/Merry Christmas in lots more languages. It was created by Maulana Karenga, based on African harvest festival traditions from various parts of Africa, including West and Southeast Africa.Kwanzaa was first celebrated in 1966. Christmas Poems in Madagascar. In South Africa, he is also called Sinterklass or Kersvader. The Christmas tree is decorated some time before Christmas Day, so there’s plenty of time to be ready for Christmas Eve when Santa Claus comes. Christmas Day is a public holiday. On the west coast of Africa, in Liberia, most homes have an oil palm for a Christmas tree, which is decorated with bells. Christmas in India: The Best Places to Celebrate It, Discover Russian Traditions, Holidays, and Festivals, There Are Plenty of Places to Celebrate Christmas in Asia, Christmas in Scandinavia: Traditions, Events, and Foods. © Copyright 2000 - 2021 James Cooper | About the site | Cookies & Privacy | Site Map | Other Links | Support | Website logistics by LetterBlock | Proud Affiliate of the Merry Network, whychristmas?com answers your Christmas questions! It is a day when families attend … They receive small cash donations in return, in much the same way that Western children do when caroling. The history of Christianity in Africa dates back to the 1st century AD, when Egyptian converts founded some of the earliest Christian communities in the world. 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. South Africa also has several other UK Christmas traditions, because of its history with the UK. If it's really hot they might even have a barbecue or 'braai'. Plan Your Christmas Vacation to Eastern Europe, How the Christmas Season is Celebrated in New Zealand, Everything You Need to Know About Time in Africa, Celebrate Christmas Italian Styles at These City Events, Learn What's Different About Christmas in Peru, 10 Best Annual Events and Festivals in Africa, 13 Days in China with Viking River Cruises, The Best Places to See Christmas Lights in and Near Nashville. Customs, traditions, and even the date of the holiday differ from country to country but the religious foundation of the celebration remains the same, unifying people from all walks of life and a myriad different cultures. So there's lots of sun and beautiful flowers in full bloom. In South Africa, families typically braai; or salute their colonial British heritage with a traditional Christmas dinner complete with paper hats, mince pies, and turkey. In Ghana, Christmas dinner is not complete without fufu and okra soup; and in Liberia rice, beef, and biscuits are the order of the day.Â. Happy/Merry Christmas in lots more languages. Shoes in front of the fireplace In The Gambia, for example, people parade with large lanterns called fanals, made in the shape of boats or houses. 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. However, in many countries the celebration is very different than it is in North America or Europe. It's a little too close to the equator for snow, Sir Bob I'm not sure if you know where Africa is or its size, but it's not all on the Equator. The turkey’s acceptance into the Old World happened quickly. Anouk is a travel writer, editor, and agent raised in Malawi and Kenya with more than 15 years of experience working in the African travel industry. Traditionally referred to as Ganna, an Ethiopian Christmas typically begins with a day of fasting, followed by church services and a feast that includes stew, vegetables and sourdough bread. Of course, the evergreen firs and pines favored in North America and Europe are hard to come by in Africa, so Christmas trees are usually replaced by native or synthetic alternatives. In 1984, Band Aid released the immortal Christmas song "Do They Know It's Christmas?" On Christmas Day carols are sung from Ghana to South Africa. And yes, Sting was on this song. In East Africa, goats are purchased at the local market for roasting on Christmas Day. The period before, during and after Christmas Day is marked by conviviality, merriment, wining and dining. Christmas is called Ledet (ልደት) in Eritrea or Gena (ገና) in Ethiopia. The African country with the highest percentage of Christians is Zambia with 95.5 percent, followed by the Seychelles and Rwanda. It celebrates Jesus' birth. The meal is often eaten outside in the summer sun! Along with Islam, it is one of the two most widely practiced religions on the African continent. Sharo happens when two young men want to marry the same woman. Christmas in South Africa. This article was updated and re-written in part by Jessica Macdonald on November 7 2019. Christmas Day, on December 25, is one of the most festive Christian holidays in many countries around the world. This is unarguably the most popular holiday in all of Africa, and Christians – who are the originators of Christmas – are not the only ones to celebrate the birth of the Christ. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church's celebration of Christ's birth is called Ganna. In Afrikaans (one the languages spoken in South Africa) Happy/Merry Christmas is 'Geseënde Kersfees'; in Zulu it's 'UKhisimusi omuhle', in Sesotho it's 'Le be le keresemese e monate' and in Xhosa it's 'Krismesi emnandi'. So, Geseënde Kersfees to all and … The UK recorded 1,325 virus deaths yesterday - its highest ever daily toll - 101 cases higher than the death toll of 1,324 recorded during the peak of the first wave in April. Then comment. This Mail & Guardian article shows how Senegalese Muslims and Christians have chosen to unofficially celebrate each other's holidays, laying the foundation for the country's renowned atmosphere of religious tolerance.Â. Another pagan custom called wassailing, or singing from door to door, also became very popular among Christmas celebrants. They wrap presents, bake cookies, and hang stockings over the fireplace. Christmas (or the Feast of the Nativity) is an annual festival commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, observed primarily on December 25 as a religious and cultural celebration among billions of people around the world. Carols by Candlelight services are also popular on Christmas Eve. The reason I bring this up is the Eritrean society celebrates two Christmas’s in a space of 14 days. It falls on December 26 and is a day of real relaxation. M erry Christmas and Happy New Year or is it Happy New year and Merry Christmas, perhaps it is Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and Merry Christmas again! In December, many Christians celebrate a holiday called Christmas.1 What is Christmas? An interesting French Christmas tradition is that the French knot the ends of the tablecloth so the Devil can’t get under the table. The Fulani tribe live in many countries in West Africa and follow a tradition called Sharo. On this day Christians commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem. Listen to Twelve Days of Christmas with a South African spin over here: In Portuguese, it’s literally a “Peru bird,” and in Malay, it’s called a “Dutch chicken.” Turkey, meet Thanksgiving. Mince pies are also popular. During Christmas time, children expect a new cloth, called a “Christmas cloth”, from their parents. in response to the 1983 - 1985 famine in Ethiopia.The song included the lyric "...there won't be snow in Africa this Christmas time", and indeed, the thought of snowflakes falling on Africa's arid deserts and drought-stricken savannahs seems unlikely. Kwanzaa (/ ˈ k w ɑː n. z ə /) 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 schools are closed for the Christmas holidays and some people like to go camping. Santa Claus is also known as Sinterklaas (St Nicholas) & Kersvader (Father Christmas) for people who speak Afrikaans (which has a base in Dutch). This means that although they celebrate on December 25, that date usually translates to January 7 on the Gregorian calendar. And yet, Christmas is celebrated throughout the continent by Christian communities both large and small. Going to church is usually the main focus of Christmas celebrations in Africa. Nativity scenes are played out, carols are sung and in some cases dances are performed. 10. You may see fake snow decorating store fronts in ​Nairobi, palm trees laden with candles in Ghana, or oil palms loaded with bells in Liberia. For many people, Africa is synonymous with arid deserts and tropical jungles; hardly compatible with northern hemisphere ideas of Christmas. Boxing Day is also a proclaimed public holiday usually spent in the open air. During this season, there is particular emphasis on an event that occurred around 2,000 years ago in the town of Bethlehem in Judea (today called Israel). Even in some of Africa's predominantly Muslim countries, Christmas is still recognized as a secular celebration. Either way, Christmas is a time for family and merrymaking. This holiday is more about going to church, eating together with the family and playing games. Different groups in the Church, especially children, perform songs and plays celebrating the birth of Jesus. Is Christmas Day a Public Holiday? And many people go to a Christmas morning Church Service. The Christmas meal is either turkey, duck, roast beef or suckling pig with yellow rice & raisins and vegetables, followed by Christmas Pudding or a traditional South African dessert called Malva Pudding (sometimes also called Lekker Pudding) - get the recipe. Madagascar, island country lying off the southeastern coast of Africa. In Malawi, groups of young children go door-to-door to perform dances and Christmas songs to the accompaniment of homemade instruments. The men must suppress signs of pain and the one who takes the beating without showing signs of pain can take the wife. The date is traditional and is not considered to be the actual date of his birth. How Do People Celebrate Christmas in Africa? The day known as Christmas Day is celebrated on the 25th day of December. People start shopping for Christmas by early December. In most countries, Christmas is a public holiday and people make the most of the opportunity to visit family and friends. Christmas dinner is a key part of the festive ritual in Africa. Later on there is a feast of rice and yam paste called fufu with stew or okra soup, porridge and meats. Because South Africa is in the Southern Hemisphere, Christmas comes in the summer. This poem is a great way for everyone to get in the Christmas spirit and to be excited about the big night. Many people who are Christian in the two countries fast for 40 days (it is called fast of the prophets). 9. - www.whychristmas.com, a traditional South African dessert called Malva Pudding (sometimes also called Lekker Pudding) - get the recipe, Happy/Merry Christmas in lots more languages. When I say two Christmas’s I am talking about the one that is on the 25th of December and the other which is on January the 7th. Get a map. Boxing Day is also a public holiday in South Africa and again people like to be 'out and about' having a good time! In rural Africa, few people can afford frivolous gifts or toys, and in any case, there are not many places to buy them. Christmas Day is a public holiday in Eritrea that is celebrated on January 7 or on 27 Tahsas of the Ethiopian calendar. By 1575, the English were enjoying the North American bird at Christmas dinner, and Shakespeare talked about it in Henry IV. A lekker Christmas tjoon you’ll only hear in South Africa This year you can celebrate Christmas with a lekker local song! Christmas (which means "The Mass of Christ") is a Christian holiday that refers to the birth of Jesus (whom Christians believe is the Son of God), and a cultural holiday for non-Christians.. It still follows the ancient Julian calendar, so Ethiopians celebrate Christmas on January 7. Then everyone gathers around the tree as someone tells the favorite story, "A Christmas Carol." It is the fourth largest island in the world. In the West African nation of Senegal, Islam is the main religion; and yet Christmas is designated as a national holiday along with Easter, the end of Ramadan, and Prophet Mohammed's birthday.This Mail & Guardian article shows how Senegalese Muslims and Christians … The crisis began between Christmas and New Year when Bonnie Saunders, a nurse at Glangwili Hospital in Carmarthen, Wales, developed coronavirus symptoms. To define South African Christmas traditions are hard, because of our diversity as a nation, every race has it’s own ways in which they celebrate Christmas. Some experts believe that Christianity spread to North Africa before it arrived in Northern Europe. How Do People Celebrate New Year's Eve in Africa? Christmas Day, celebrated on December 25 in Catholic, Protestant, and most Orthodox churches, is a public holiday in South Africa. Note: This article is featured in this booklet, which shows the surprising connection between Christmas and the creation of the world.. In South Africa, people celebrate Christmas in summer because December is one of the hottest months of the year. Though most friends and families do not exchange gifts, commu… In Akan (Ghana): AfishapaIn Shona (Zimbabwe): Muve neKisimusiIn Afrikaans (South Africa):  Geseënde KersfeesIn Zulu (South Africa):  Sinifisela Ukhisimusi OmuhleIn Swazi (Swaziland):  Sinifisela Khisimusi LomuhleIn Sotho (Lesotho):  Matswalo a Morena a MabotseIn Swahili (Tanzania, Kenya): Kuwa na Krismasi njemaIn Amharic (Ethiopia): Melkam Yelidet BeaalIn Egyptian Arabic (Egypt): Colo sana wintom tiebeenIn Yoruba (Nigeria): E ku odun, e hu iye' dun. Instead of a spoon, Ethiopians use flatbread called “injera”. Here’s how it goes: A very popular Christmas poem that children perform in Madagascar is: After hearing their favorite Christmas story, children write a letter to Father Christmas with their wishes. Observed on December 25 every year, Christmas in Nigeria is at once both a religious and cultural celebration among millions of adherents in the country. The day before Christmas is very busy for families in England. 34 … In southern hemisphere countries December represents the height of summer; which is why a typical Christmas Day in places like South Africa often involves beach trips, sunbathing sessions, and eating al fresco. To compete for her hand, they beat one another up. Coptic Christians in Ethiopia and Egypt celebrate Christmas according to the Coptic calendar. Although located some 250 miles from the African continent, Madagascar’s population is primarily related not to African peoples but rather those of Indonesia, more than 3,000 miles to the east. The most common gift bought at Christmas is new clothes, usually intended to be worn to church. The other significant difference is the weather. It doesn't just have one type of weather. Families eat together or with close neighbors, and presents are given. Traditional 'fir' Christmas Trees are popular and children leave a stocking out for Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. Ethiopia is one of the oldest nations in Africa. Those who can afford it will generally give gifts at Christmas, although the holiday is not nearly as commercial in Africa as it is in Europe or North America. South Africa holidays 2022. The services start about 5.00pm and last until after midnight! Christmas on the African continent is festive, colorful and loud! Children don’t usually get Christmas presents. In the West African nation of Senegal, Islam is the main religion; and yet Christmas is designated as a national holiday along with Easter, the end of Ramadan, and Prophet Mohammed's birthday. The sapin de noël. Going carol singing, on Christmas Eve, is very popular in towns and cities. Many people mistakenly state that “Jesus is the reason for the season.” They do so, because they believe people have lost sight of the true meaning of Christmas. Decorating shop fronts, trees, churches, and homes is common throughout Christian communities in Africa. 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