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 Christmas? 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 UK. The only big difference is that, in South Africa, Christmas happens during their summer! 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 Egypt is a Muslim country. Around 15% of Egypt’s population are Christian. Most Egyptian Christians belong to the Coptic Orthodox Church. They have their own unique Christian traditions. 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 Kiahk. 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 Ethiopia 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 too. 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 Celebration. 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 singing! On Christmas Day, people are normally woken up by carol singers. They walk from village to village to sing about Christmas. 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 chicken. 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 Ghana Christmas in Ghana is celebrated from 20th December until the first week in January. 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: Afishapa 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 Flag An example has been given to you on the following slide. South Africa Capital City: Cape Town, Pretoria and Bloemfontein Main Language(s): Afrikaans and English Flag: Christmas Food: Turkey or beef (sometimes on the Braai); Yellow rice and raisins; Malva Pudding. Christmas Traditions: Hanging up stockings for Santa; decorating the house and Christmas tree.