We all celebrate Christmas with some sort of a special tradition, but if there is one thing traveling the world teaches you, it is that we are actually all very much the same. Bottom line: We love good food. So let’s explore the world and the Christmas traditions people love on the content of Africa. (Which naturally includes food…) 🙂
In early December the schools in South Africa close for the Christmas holiday which is during Africa’s summertime. Many people head to seaside destinations. Caroling is popular and Christmas Markets, although sometimes more focused on food and wine than Christmas gifts, are a huge hit, particularly in South Africa.
Carols by Candlelight services (one of the many Christmas traditions in Africa) already starts in November and schools have their yearend Christmas shows also in November. On Christmas Eve many churches have services or midnight mass.
Santa Clause / Father Christmas (Kersvader / Vader Kersfees in Afrikaans) brings presents to the children. Most people open presents on Christmas Eve and on Christmas morning people go to Church where after a huge lunch is served. After lunch friends and family visit and have a fun afternoon together.
Traditional Christmas food: Some people prefer to braai due to the fantastic summer weather. Others prefer a table served with gammon, meatballs, chicken, turkey, duck, rice, vegetables, and salads and then there is the traditional Trifle for pudding.
People greet each other with ‘Arahaba tratry ny Noely‘ which means Merry Christmas.
Poinsettias is a favorite plant to have indoors in South Africa during Christmas time. However, in Madagascar, it grows as large outdoor shrubs. (The Poinsettia is Native to Madagascar.)
In Madagascar families normally eat Christmas dinner together. Dishes like Chicken and/or Pork with rice and fresh fish and fruit are popular. They also have a special cake they make, referred to as the Malagasy Cake.
A Christmas-time favorite in South Africa.
Recipe and Photo: https://www.rhodesquality.com/recipes/traditional-trifle/
Reunionese tables usually have the following traditional dishes during Christmas time: Lobster and other curries, Creole pâté, along with rice, broad beans and mango rougail. They also have the traditional Christmas log made with sweet potato and for pudding a choice of lychis and other fruit.
On this island you can experience the Christmas traditions in Africa in many ways. One of which include hanging around at the beach.
Namibia celebrates Christmas much like South Africa, where gatherings with friends and family are important. (Actually, that is important all around the world. No matter where you celebrate Christmas.) On Christmas eve some people go to midnight mass and Christmas day is also a day to go to church. As Namibia has a lot of German influence, many people still make traditional German cookies for Christmas. Most of the towns switch their Christmas lights on on the 6th of December each year.
How to say Merry Christmas in Namibia: Languages such as English, German and Afrikaans are spoken in Namibia. The English version of saying ‘Merry Christmas’ is widely understood. Or you can say ‘Frohe Weihnachten’ (German) and ‘Geseënde Kersfees’ (Afrikaans).
Christmas cookies known as Weihnachtsplätzchen are a favorite during Christmas time:
Apple Fritters (Appelbeignets aka Appelflappen) is also a favorite.
In Kenya Christmas foods include goat meat, sheep, beef or chicken served with rice and chapati (a flat bread). In the city and tourist areas, the meals are however more western and you will have much more options.
They do have a Father Christmas that hands out presents to good children. A Christmas tradition in Africa that all kids love (sometimes also the ‘older kids’).
In Swahili/Kiswahili: ‘Heri ya Krismasi’ and in the Maasai language (also called Maa or Kimaasai) it’s ‘nchipai e Kirismas’.
The majority of Seychellois, on December 24, attend the Midnight Mass to celebrate Christmas Eve. Then there is another mass the next morning for the birth of baby Jesus.
But as you can expect with the ocean being around 28 degrees, most of the day is spent on the beach. Here you can have a ‘quiet getaway’ during Christmas time and enjoy some well deserved rest and relaxation.