Africans are very spiritual people and its history traditions dates back to the 1st Century AD. Africans main religions range from Christianity, to Islam and indigenous beliefs. Going to church is generally the main focus of Christmas celebrations in Africa. Nativity scenes are played out, carols are sung and in some cases dances are performed.
The Christmas holiday is celebrated throughout the continent by Christian communities, which is approximately 350 million people. Carols are sung during Christmas day and this tradition for Christians spans from Ghana to South Africa. The family gets together and gifts are exchanged. The Coptic Christians in Ethiopia and Egypt celebrate Christmas on the 25th of December in their calendar, which is the 7th of January for most of the rest of us. Kwanzaa is not celebrated in Africa, as it’s an African-American holiday. Even in Africa Muslim countries, Christmas is still marked to be celebrated.
The emphasis of the holiday during Christmas is concentrated on the religious celebration of the birth of Jesus and signing in church than it is of giving presents. the common thing to give at Christmas is to get a new set of clothes to be worn to church. Gifts are exchanged but they usually are in the form of school books, soap, cloth, candles and other practical goods.
As in most Christian cultures, celebrating Christmas dinner with friends and family tops the list after their most common tradition of attending church. In East Africa goats are roasted on Christmas day. In South Africa the beaches are full of families enjoying braais (barbeque) or traditional Christmas dinners with paper hats, mince pies, turkey and plum pudding, which is an adoption of their British legacy. In Ghana, Christmas dinner tradition must have fufu and okra soup and in Liberia: rice, beef and biscuits. Zimbabweans must have plenty of bread, jam and tea to eat along with their goat meat.
What are some of your holiday traditions? What gifts did you receive or give this year?
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