CHRISTMAS is Celebration in Nigeria:
Christianity is undergoing a major resurgence in Nigeria, particularly after the visit of Pope John Paul II in the 1990’s. Many parts of Nigeria like Yoruba and Igbo have a predominant catholic population. Little wonder then that they celebrate CHRISTMAS with as much gusto as their American or European counterparts, the onus though is still on the religious significance of the festival and commercialization is just starting to creep its way into CHRISTMAS in Nigeria.
CHRISTMAS Day is a public holiday and is mainly celebrated in the southern and eastern parts of Nigeria. Almost everyone goes to Church on CHRISTMAS Day but Nigerians do have certain customs and traditions that are unique to them.
CHRISTMAS Traditions in Nigeria
Weeks before the day, people buy lots of hens, turkeys, goats and cows. Children hover around the beasts, taunting and mostly gawking at them. People start elaborate preparations for the holiday when they travel and exchange gifts. CHRISTMAS carols are very popular and they can be heard right from the beginning of December in anticipation of CHRISTMAS. Nigerians have some of the most beautiful, original CHRISTMAS carols ever.
On CHRISTMAS Eve, as per tradition the animals previously purchased are slaughtered, and traditional meals are prepared. In Yorùbáland, such meals usually include Iyan, (pounded yam) eba or amala, served with peppery stewed vegetables. People find themselves eating this same meal three to four times on that day, as they are offered it at every house they visit; and according to Yorùbá customs, it is considered extremely rude to decline food when it is offered. This of course is a throwback from the time that poverty reigned in this country, however, even in these better times, the ghost of the past still lingers and thus customs are carried forward.
The other popular meal consists of rice served with a delicious chicken curry which is very similar to the chicken stew they eat in India. Delicacies such as Moin-Moin (blended black beans) mixed with vegetable oil and diced liver; prawns, chicken, fish and beef too are included in the traditional meal. This dish is generally steamed till its cooked and its delicious. Nigerians enjoy good food and loud music and CHRISTMAS is the perfect time for them to indulge in it.
A Unique CHRISTMAS in Nigeria
People in Nigeria love decorating their homes with woven or unwoven palm. They also use CHRISTMAS trees and CHRISTMAS lights for decoration purposes. The festivities are incredible and unlike in western countries, they take place right their on the street. One can see that it is an occasion for the people to escape from the drudgery of their lives and indulge in good food and music, dressed in their best clothes. Perhaps, there is no other festival besides CHRISTMAS which is celebrated with such bonhomie in Nigeria. People do everything in a bit to make it more joyous for themselves, their families and even strangers visiting their country.
CHRISTMAS, can be said to be the largest celebration in the whole of Nigeria, as it is not only being celebrated by the Christian community in the country, but rather it is being celebrated by the whole population of the nation.
CHRISTMAS celebration in Nigeria starts on the 1st day of December, as that is the day when kids begin to light up fire crackers everywhere. CHRISTMAS shopping for clothes usually begins on the 10th day of December, and the shopping gets more intense from the 15th day of December.
CHRISTMAS is not just being celebrated on the 25th of December, but rather all through December up to the 10th day of January (even New year is sometimes categorized under CHRISTMAS). But the main celebrations are done from the 24th to the 26th or sometimes 27th of December. On 24th at night, there are parties going on at almost every club, people leave the clubs by 10 to 11 at Night to go to their respective churches, while some still remain. People return back to the church by 2a.m on the 25th (CHRISTMAS day) where they party until 6a.m.
The traditional CHRISTMAS meal in Nigeria is rice. Be it white rice and stew, or Fried rice it does not matter as long as it is rice. This rice is served with chicken and drinks to support it. On this same day, children can be seen dressed in their best clothes moving from one house to another, where they get to eat and receive gifts (mostly money). People move from one house to another to visit their friends and loved ones, and some people give gifts, but in Nigeria the traditional gift on CHRISTMAS day is money, and this is being given to kids by those who dropped by to visit. It must not necessarily be an adult who is popping by, it can be even a 16 years old as long as there are little kids in the house he went to visit, he can give the kids gifts if his soul desires (but most of these young stars visit people in order to collect these little cash gifts).
The main parties and gatherings are hosted by families for their friends, and this type of parties never sees little kids except for those under 5 who their parents had to take along because they could not leave them home alone for some reason or another. The main parties which come with the celebration are never held on the day of CHRISTMAS, as it is believed that the day of CHRISTMAS is a day where people are supposed to stay at home with their families, or they can go out to the park together as a family, etc. In conclusion, I believe CHRISTMAS is best celebrated in Nigeria.
…………….WISH YOU A MERRY CHRISTMAS………..