Christmas Across Africa.

Christmas in Africa
How do people in the UK
traditionally spend Christmas?
They might…
Spend time with family
Take part in religious celebrations
Decorate a tree
Put up Christmas lights
Have Christmas Dinner
People throughout Africa celebrate
Christmas too.
However, the ways that people in Africa
celebrate Christmas can vary region to
region, and country to country.
An African Christmas can be very different
to how we might celebrate ours.
What do people in the UK
traditionally eat at
Where do they eat it?
How do people in the UK
traditionally decorate their houses
at Christmas?
Why do people in the UK decorate
their houses at Christmas?
South Africa
Christmas in South Africa can be very
similar to how we celebrate it in the
The only big difference is that, in South
Africa, Christmas happens during their
Children will hang up stockings for Santa, and presents will be
placed around a big fir tree.
On Christmas Eve, carol singing is a popular activity in many
towns and cities. On Christmas Day a lot of people will also
go to church.
Christmas dinner is eaten outside. A
traditional meal will include either
turkey or beef.
People may even barbeque (braai)
their turkey!
Dinner is served with vegetables, mince
pies, and yellow rice with raisins.
Desert will either be Christmas Pudding
or Malva Pudding, a traditional South
African desert.
In the afternoon, families and friends will visit each other. They
may also go for walks or to the beach for a swim.
They also have Boxing Day on 26th December.
To wish someone Merry Christmas
in Afrikaans, you say:
Geseënde Kersfees
Egypt is a Muslim country. Around
15% of Egypt’s population are
Most Egyptian Christians belong to
the Coptic Orthodox Church. They
have their own unique Christian
To start with Christmas Day in Egypt isn’t celebrated on
25th December, but on 7th January!
The Coptic Advent month leading up to Christmas is known as
During this time Coptic Christians fast, and do not eat anything
that comes from animals. This includes eggs and milk.
This is called the ‘Holy Nativity Feast’.
Christmas Eve is 6th January. Christians will go to
church for a special liturgy or service.
Afterwards families go home and
eat their Christmas meal. This is full
of foods that could not be eaten
during advent.
One speciality is ‘Fata’, a lamb dish
with bread, rice and garlic.
On Christmas Day, people often
give one another ‘kahk’, a special
type of sweet biscuit.
Most of the Egyptian population are Muslim. However, a lot of
people celebrate Christmas, whether they are a Christian or not,
because it allows people to spend time with their family.
It is slowly becoming commercial, with supermarkets selling
Christmas trees, food and decorations.
To wish someone Merry Christmas in
Arabic, you say:
miilaad majiid
‫ميالد مجيد‬
The Majority of Christians in
Ethiopia are part of the Ethiopian
Orthodox Church.
Just like the Coptic Christians in
Egypt, Ethiopians celebrate
Christmas Day on the 7th January
Christmas in Ethiopia is called Ganna.
On Christmas Eve it is tradition for people to fast the
whole day.
Christmas Day starts with a Mass
Everyone is given a candle, and
the congregation will walk around
the church three times while
holding it.
The Mass takes place in a circle. The choir stand on the
outer circle, and then the congregation.
The centre is the most important and holy place. This is
where the priest will serve Communion.
Christmas dinner in Ethiopia is normally a dish called ‘wat’. This
is a thick spicy stew full of meat, vegetables and egg.
It is normally served on a flatbread called ‘injera’.
People don’t give or receive presents during Ganna. It is
more important to spend time with family or go to church.
To wish someone Merry Christmas in
Amharic, you say:
Melkam gena
Democratic Republic of Congo
Christmas is a very important
religious event in the Democratic
Republic of Congo.
It is not commercial, and most
people won’t receive presents!
On Christmas Eve, churches will hold big musical evenings,
with up to 6 choirs.
There is also a nativity play. This starts at the very beginning
with the Creation Story… and doesn’t finish until the story of
King Herod.
Celebrations continue throughout the night with more
On Christmas Day, people are normally woken up by carol
singers. They walk from village to village to sing about
People who attend church bring a gift with them to leave at
the alter. This is known as the ‘Love Offering’.
Christmas dinner tends to be very simple. If families can
afford it, they will try and get either some pork or
The rest of the day is rather relaxed, with families
recovering from the celebrations from the night before.
To wish someone Merry Christmas in
Lingala, you say:
Mbotoma Malamu
Christmas in Ghana is celebrated from
20th December until the first week in
Christmas Eve is celebrated with
music, drumming and dancing. Children
will often put on a nativity play.
Choirs will sing and the congregation will dance.
People will sing in the language they know best, there are
66 languages spoken throughout Ghana.
People will exchange gifts as they sit around the table
for Christmas dinner.
In Ghana, traditional Christmas dinner tends to be
something called ‘fufu’, which is made from yam paste.
It is normally served with either a stew or okra soup,
porridge and goat meat.
People will dress up in traditional
Ghana clothing at Christmas.
People may also reflect on those who have died in the past
year and any difficulties they have faced.
One way to wish someone Merry
Christmas in Ghana is:
Activity: Christmas Fact File
Make a Christmas Fact File for each of the countries,
using the information given. Remember to include:
Capital city
Country’s main language
Christmas food
Christmas traditions
An example has been given to you on the following slide.
South Africa
Capital City: Cape Town, Pretoria and
Main Language(s): Afrikaans and English
Christmas Food: Turkey or beef (sometimes
on the Braai); Yellow rice and raisins; Malva
Christmas Traditions: Hanging up stockings
for Santa; decorating the house and Christmas
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