Decorating shop fronts, trees, churches, and homes is common throughout Christian communities in Africa. In December, many Christians celebrate a holiday called Christmas.1 What is Christmas? 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. 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. - 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. Kwanzaa (the celebration of African heritage observed in the United States and often associated with the festive season) is not celebrated in Africa. Christmas is called Ledet (ልደት) in Eritrea or Gena (ገና) in Ethiopia. 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. Christmas in South Africa. Even in some of Africa's predominantly Muslim countries, Christmas is still recognized as a secular celebration. In The Gambia, for example, people parade with large lanterns called fanals, made in the shape of boats or houses. Christmas dinner is a key part of the festive ritual in Africa. Christmas Day, on December 25, is one of the most festive Christian holidays in many countries around the world. After hearing their favorite Christmas story, children write a letter to Father Christmas with their wishes. 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. In Brazil, you say ‘Bom Natal’ or ‘Boas Festes’ if you wish somebody Merry Christmas. Families eat together or with close neighbors, and presents are given. Madagascar, island country lying off the southeastern coast of Africa. People also like to pull Christmas Crackers! 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. Therefore, if gifts are exchanged in poorer communities they usually take the form of school books, soap, cloth, candles, and other practical goods. Children don’t usually get Christmas presents. Note: This article is featured in this booklet, which shows the surprising connection between Christmas and the creation of the world.. The men must suppress signs of pain and the one who takes the beating without showing signs of pain can take the wife. And yes, Sting was on this song. South Africa also has several other UK Christmas traditions, because of its history with the UK. So there's lots of sun and beautiful flowers in full bloom. It is a day when families attend … In rural Africa, few people can afford frivolous gifts or toys, and in any case, there are not many places to buy them. Duh! They receive small cash donations in return, in much the same way that Western children do when caroling. For many people, Africa is synonymous with arid deserts and tropical jungles; hardly compatible with northern hemisphere ideas of Christmas. This article was updated and re-written in part by Jessica Macdonald on November 7 2019. People start shopping for Christmas by early December. Either way, Christmas is a time for family and merrymaking. The services start about 5.00pm and last until after midnight! Because South Africa is in the Southern Hemisphere, Christmas comes in the summer. There are many children in Madagascar who will recite a popular poem around Christmas time. Instead of a spoon, Ethiopians use flatbread called “injera”. Coptic Christians in Ethiopia and Egypt celebrate Christmas according to the Coptic calendar. Christmas Day, celebrated on December 25 in Catholic, Protestant, and most Orthodox churches, is a public holiday in South Africa. The schools are closed for the Christmas holidays and some people like to go camping. Later on there is a feast of rice and yam paste called fufu with stew or okra soup, porridge and meats. 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.. Everyone counts down to the end of the year, when all their pent-up party mood is released. 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. 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. 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. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church's celebration of Christ's birth is called Ganna. 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. Christmas Day is a public holiday in Eritrea that is celebrated on January 7 or on 27 Tahsas of the Ethiopian calendar. Shoes in front of the fireplace 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. African families celebrate Christmas just as you do in the northern hemisphere; Christmas Day lunch, Christmas … Then everyone gathers around the tree as someone tells the favorite story, "A Christmas Carol." Christmas Poems in Madagascar. 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 … Happy/Merry Christmas in lots more languages. 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. 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. Santa Claus is also known as Sinterklaas (St Nicholas) & Kersvader (Father Christmas) for people who speak Afrikaans (which has a base in Dutch). The African country with the highest percentage of Christians is Zambia with 95.5 percent, followed by the Seychelles and Rwanda. Our nation is called the Rainbow Nation because we have a diversity of races, languages (eleven to be exact) and traditions. If it's really hot they might even have a barbecue or 'braai'. In South Africa, the weeks before Christmas, people celebrate Christmas on the 25th of December. On this day Christians commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem. The period before, during and after Christmas Day is marked by conviviality, merriment, wining and dining. These are often joyous occasions of music and dance. 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. A lekker Christmas tjoon you’ll only hear in South Africa This year you can celebrate Christmas with a lekker local song! Even in some of Africa's predominantly Muslim countries, Christmas is still recognized as a secular celebration. It is the fourth largest island in the world. In Afrikaans (one the languages spoken in South Africa) Happy/Merry Christmas is ‘Geseënde Kersfees’. In Malawi, groups of young children go door-to-door to perform dances and Christmas songs to the accompaniment of homemade instruments. The meal is often eaten outside in the summer sun! To compete for her hand, they beat one another up. Center for the Study of Global Christianity. The emphasis is more on the religious celebration of the birth of Jesus than it is on gift giving. © 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! 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). When does South Africa have Christmas? 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. 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). Happy/Merry Christmas in lots more languages. 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. The reason I bring this up is the Eritrean society celebrates two Christmas’s in a space of 14 days. 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. The greeting has been Africanized and here are 25 ways of saying Merry Christmas in Africa as documented by whychristmas.com. In 1984, Band Aid released the immortal Christmas song "Do They Know It's Christmas?" It is a day off for the general population, and schools and most businesses are closed. 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. Different groups in the Church, especially children, perform songs and plays celebrating the birth of Jesus. Christmas Day is a public holiday. In most countries, Christmas is a public holiday and people make the most of the opportunity to visit family and friends. 10. Most people go to Church on Christmas Eve in Madagascar. 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. 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. Sharo happens when two young men want to marry the same woman. The date is traditional and is not considered to be the actual date of his birth. 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. 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! The other significant difference is the weather. The Fulani tribe live in many countries in West Africa and follow a tradition called Sharo. Along with Islam, it is one of the two most widely practiced religions on the African continent. Boxing Day is also a public holiday in South Africa and again people like to be 'out and about' having a good time! In South Africa, people celebrate Christmas in summer because December is one of the hottest months of the year. 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. 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. 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. However, in many countries the celebration is very different than it is in North America or Europe. In South Africa, he is also called Sinterklass or Kersvader. This holiday is more about going to church, eating together with the family and playing games. How Do People Celebrate New Year's Eve in Africa? In Portuguese, it’s literally a “Peru bird,” and in Malay, it’s called a “Dutch chicken.” Turkey, meet Thanksgiving. In East Africa, goats are purchased at the local market for roasting on Christmas Day. Here’s how it goes: A very popular Christmas poem that children perform in Madagascar is: In Ghana, on Africa's west coast, most churches herald the coming of Christmas by decorating the church and homes beginning … On the west coast of Africa, in Liberia, most homes have an oil palm for a Christmas tree, which is decorated with bells. The sapin de noël. Traditional 'fir' Christmas Trees are popular and children leave a stocking out for Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. So, Geseënde Kersfees to all and … An interesting French Christmas tradition is that the French knot the ends of the tablecloth so the Devil can’t get under the table. 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. 5)How about "And there won't be snow in Africa this Christmas time"? Meats are roasted, gifts are exchanged, and people travel far and wide to visit family. Many people who are Christian in the two countries fast for 40 days (it is called fast of the prophets). 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. Though most friends and families do not exchange gifts, commu… 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. 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'. Another pagan custom called wassailing, or singing from door to door, also became very popular among Christmas celebrants. Is Christmas Day a Public Holiday? During Christmas time, children expect a new cloth, called a “Christmas cloth”, from their parents. 34 … This poem is a great way for everyone to get in the Christmas spirit and to be excited about the big night. On Christmas Day the family gathers at a ‘braai’, which is the South African version of a barbecue (BBQ). 9. By 1575, the English were enjoying the North American bird at Christmas dinner, and Shakespeare talked about it in Henry IV. It falls on December 26 and is a day of real relaxation. 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. Ironically, Christmas paraphernalia including cards, wrapping paper, and decorations still use traditional motifs including snowmen and reindeer. 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. In many countries, processions take place after a church service held on Christmas Eve. The day before Christmas is very busy for families in England. And yet, Christmas is celebrated throughout the continent by Christian communities both large and small. They wrap presents, bake cookies, and hang stockings over the fireplace. 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. 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. 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'. It doesn't just have one type of weather. Ethiopia is one of the oldest nations in Africa. Mince pies are also popular. On Christmas Day carols are sung from Ghana to South Africa. And many people go to a Christmas morning Church Service. The turkey’s acceptance into the Old World happened quickly. Boxing Day is also a proclaimed public holiday usually spent in the open air. Christmas on the African continent is festive, colorful and loud! Santa Claus, or Father Christmas, is popular all over Africa, wherever Christianity is. It celebrates Jesus' birth. The day known as Christmas Day is celebrated on the 25th day of December. South Africa holidays 2022. Going carol singing, on Christmas Eve, is very popular in towns and cities. Some experts believe that Christianity spread to North Africa before it arrived in Northern Europe. On Christmas morning, people are woken up by carols. In 2018, research from the Center for the Study of Global Christianity showed that there are approximately 631 million Christians living in Africa, more than any other continent. Carols by Candlelight services are also popular on Christmas Eve. It still follows the ancient Julian calendar, so Ethiopians celebrate Christmas on January 7. The most common gift bought at Christmas is new clothes, usually intended to be worn to church. Santa is called Santa Claus or Father Christmas in all parts of Africa. This means that although they celebrate on December 25, that date usually translates to January 7 on the Gregorian calendar. Then comment. Geseende Kersfees (“Merry Christmas” in my home language, Afrikaans) from all of us here in South Africa! 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. Have a look. How Do People Celebrate Christmas in Africa? Listen to Twelve Days of Christmas with a South African spin over here: Every country has its own unique celebrations no matter how small its Christian population. Get a map. 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. 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