As the world becomes smaller and ever more closely integrated, Christmas has become not only a holiday for Christians, but is enjoyed by people of all different faiths. In many countries and in many different ways, Christmas is seen as an occasion for people to share joy and love as the year comes to a close. Christmas is celebrated throughout the African continent by Christian communities large and small. There are approximately 350 million Christians in Africa.
Christmas in Africa also does not have snow, but it has colorful flowers every where. In South Africa, Christmas is accompanied by the sweet voices of carolers, who go house to house on Christmas Eve. Christmas morning begins early, as evangelical singing groups take to the streets and wake people up to come to church. As in Australia, many South Africans enjoy the holiday outdoors, in backyards or at the beach. In December, the southern summer brings glorious days of sunshine that carry an irresistible invitation to the beaches, the rivers, and the shaded mountain slopes. Then the South African holiday season reaches its height. Schools are closed, and camping is the order of the day. On the west coast of Africa, in Liberia, most homes have an oil palm for a Christmas tree, which is decorated with bells.
Family Christmas parties includes beef, turkey, grilled suckling pork, yellow rice and a variety of other delicious dishes. As in most Christian cultures, celebrating Christmas dinner with friends and family tops the list after attending church. In most countries Christmas is a public holiday and people take the opportunity to visit friends and family. In East Africa goats are quickly snapped up at the local markets and roasted on Christmas day. In Ghana Christmas dinner is not complete without fufu and okra soup and in Liberia rice, beef and biscuits are the order of the day. Zimbabweans make sure there’s plenty of bread, jam and tea to eat along with their goat meat.
The most important part of African Christmas worship service is the love offering, this is the gift in honor of Jesus. Then at about 8 or 9 o’clock everyone makes their way to the celebration of the birthday of Jesus. Enjoy your special Christmas and New Year celebration in Africa!