6 things you didn’t know about Christmas in Africa

6 things you didn’t know about Christmas in Africa

Most people automatically assume and consider Africa a hot country with a tropical climate, not exactly ideal for Christmas. However, Christmas is celebrated throughout the continent as there are over 400 million Christians in Africa who enjoy the festive period with their own traditions and customs for thousands of years.

Many celebrate the same traditions as Western cultures, such as the custom of exchanging gifts and singing carols but there are also some very interesting little details. Along with Islam, it is one of the two most widely practised religions on the African continent.

So let’s have a look at 6 things you didn’t know about Christmas in Africa that you may want to incorporate into your holiday celebrations.

  1. Going to church is primarily the main focus of Christmas celebrations in the African continent. Nativity scenes are played out, carols are sung by children as in the western world and in some cases dances are performed.
  2. Coptic Christians of Egypt and Ethiopia celebrate Christmas on the 7th of January in contrary to the rest of the world. Coptic Christians observe the Julian Calendar, which came before the Gregorian calendar — the one more commonly observed today.
  3. Gift giving isn’t as much of a focus in Africa during Christmas as it is in other parts of the world. Gifts are usually practical in nature, such as soap and schoolbooks, or even a new set of clothing to wear to Christmas service at church.
  4. Gift giving isn’t as much of a focus in Africa during Christmas as it is in other parts of the world. Gifts are usually practical in nature, such as soap and schoolbooks, or even a new set of clothing to wear to Christmas service at church.
  5. In many African countries, on Christmas day children and the elderly go from house to house dressed as angels singing carols. An additional church service is held where attendees dress in native clothing.
  6. Some countries such as The Gambia put on parades after Christmas church service, with large lanterns called fanals. Fanals are shaped like boats, usually made of bamboo and paper and lit from the inside with candles.

Have a look at our image below of how to say Merry Christmas in 4 African countries and leave your comments below on how you would give your wishes in your country!

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