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An African Christmas - Part 1

11/28/2008 11:38

I really hope you all had a good Thanksgiving, and now it's that time of year again...people are making lists, checking them twice, and maybe you're wondering if there's a way you can incorporate some African culture into your Christmas celebration. We'll start by giving you some ways that people celebrate Christmas in Africa. Then check back in a few days and I will post some tips and ideas that you can use to bring Africa into your Christmas holiday.

Christmas in Congo In Congo in Africa, a group is assigned to prepare an annual Christmas pageant. On Christmas morning, African people and groups of carolers walk around the village and sing Christmas carols. They then go home to dress in festive clothes and take or make love offerings for Jesus to the special service that is held at the local house of worship. In the church, the birthday of Jesus is celebrated and people keep their gifts upon the raised platform near the Communion table. After the service, people invite friends to Christmas dinners arranged in front of their homes. 

Christmas in South Africa Since Christmas falls in summer in South Africa, it is not the snowy dark winter night but sunshine and blooming flowers that adorn the Christmas Eve. There are summer holidays in schools and camping is common. In large centers, there is special screening and floor shows are arranged. People celebrate with carols by candlelight, and homes are decorated with pine branches. Christmas fir is put in a corner with presents for children of the household around its base. At bedtime, children often hang stockings in which Father Christmas can keep their presents.

Christmas in Ghana In Ghana, the 26th of December is known as Boxing Day and is a proclaimed public holiday. It is a day of rest and relaxation. Churches and homes are decorated for the first week of Advent, four weeks before Christmas. Christmas time is time for the cocoa harvest and hence people are prosperous and have money to spare. On Christmas eve everybody return to homes including farmers and miners. Children sing Christmas carols and march down the streets shouting, "Christ is coming!". In the evening, a special service is held in the churches, which are decorated with evergreen and palm trees and lighted candles. Nativity plays are performed and people sing hymns. Everybody dresses up as Christmas angels on the main day and sing Christmas carols at home and dress up in native or Western attire for the church service. The traditional Christmas feast consists of rice, meats, porridge, okra soup or stew and yam paste called fufu. Families and close friends gather at the feast and share gifts and presents. An oil palm adorned with bells is used as the Christmas tree in Liberia. In the morning of Christmas, people awake with carols and share utility items such as soaps and pencils as Christmas gifts. Christmas dinner in Liberia is arranged outdoors and the traditional dishes consist of rice, beef and biscuits. Traditional Christmas games serve as afternoon pastime while the advent of Christ is celebrated in the night with fireworks. Check back in a few days for part 2 of an African Christmas, with ideas for bringing Africa into the season. If you'd like to find some great African Christmas items, just explore the Africa Imports web site for gift ideas, African nativity sets, Kwanzaa favorites, and more!