Christmas is a festive time that brings families together to share the greetings of the season. It’s a time full of love, joy and Christmas spirit. Different nations of the world celebrate Christmas differently, and each has its now set of interesting values and rituals that embody Christmas.
Christmas in Nigeria is a family event that brings families together regardless of where they are. Nigerians living in cities travel to their native villages to meet their parents and grandparents, the whole family will get together to celebrate on Christmas Eve. In fact, you can already start seeing the Christmas decorations in December. The whole country is dressed up in the spirit of the season, it’s a jovial season and a sight to see for not just the locals but for also the excited tourists who travel to Nigeria during Christmas to visit their family.
Christmas is the most celebrated holiday in the country, where almost all communities gather to celebrate the season together. While some denominations in Africa do not believe that Christ was born on 25th December they still join wholeheartedly in the celebrations. Shopping starts early December as people start shopping for “Christmas cloth”, kids expect Christmas cloth every year from their parents which they are to traditionally wear on Christmas, and in fact some parents join in the tradition as well.
If you’ve kids travelling with you to Nigeria during Christmas, they’re going to love the traditions here. Not only do the children get a Christmas cloth, they also get to go door to door to the neighborhood houses to collect Christmas gifts which is often money. Most of the kids spend this money on fireworks and firecrackers to be used during Christmas.
If you’re planning to travel to Nigeria during Christmas, you don’t need to worry much about gifts. It’s perfectly okay to give people money on Christmas. This will really help reduce your luggage, so you can travel lighter. In fact, the major forms of gifts exchanged during Christmas in Nigeria are materials or money, greetings cards are not a part of the common African tradition.
People usually go to church on the Christmas Eve, and celebrations start immediately afterwards. The party starts with loud music, and people enjoy the traditional Nigerian wine, the palm wine, during the celebrations. Everyone joins in the party and dances to the beat, Christmas food is saved for the Christmas day. People usually stay up till midnight or early next morning and discuss their lives, it’s a wonderful time to share stories, and a favorite for those who’ve gone to their families from out of the country.
The next day starts with greetings of Christmas in the local language. It is a Christmas tradition for all women of the house including extended family to cook the Christmas meal. The food is usually prepared by the women of the house of the eldest daughter of the family. The main course served on Christmas in Nigeria is the Chicken. It is served with many other dishes such as jollof rice, stews of various meats, boiled beans and plantations etc. Some Eastern families also have a tradition of having goat meat on Christmas. The Christmas meals usually do not involve a lot of deserts, however children are given candies to celebrate the joy of the day. It is a good idea to pack some chocolates and candies for this occasion. The food is usually accompanied by several alcoholic drinks such as imported wines and beers, and traditional palm wine. Soft drinks and fresh juices are also available for the children.
In many of the villages, Christmas meals are exchanged as a symbol of love and good will between families. So you can expect to have a lot of different colorful dishes at home on Christmas day.
The celebrations start again by noon when everyone gets ready, eats their Christmas meal and have a fellowship together. After the meals, in many remote villages’ people form masquerades and do traditional dances moving door to door collect gifts. Children also cover their faces in heavy makeup, and wear masks in groups to participate in the competition for the best masquerade. These traditions are dying out in some parts as people believe that Christmas is for the celebration of birth of Christ only however they’re still popular in many villages.
The celebrations in cities follow the same pattern. After the Christmas meals in the city, people usually go out to see carnivals, music shows, or to beaches and amusement parks. Many comedians perform in hotel and other popular avenues on Christmas, and carnivals can be found on almost every street. Many people dress up in traditional apparel to participate In Christmas parades and festivities. Christmas tree is usually not a part of Nigerian Christmas celebrations, however it’s becoming more and more common in big city malls.
While Christmas is a fun time of the year, it also comes with higher travel fares both locally and internationally. Both accommodation and transport costs go up as many people travel in the season from city to villages. It is therefore recommended that you make your travel plans at least a week before Christmas so you reach your destination with ace before all the rush kicks in.
A Christmas in Nigeria amidst the rich African tradition is sure to be a memorable experience. It’ll also help families of Nigerian origin to help familiarize children to their roots.
Africa is a long way, and it gets really busy in the holiday season so it is very important that you travel with a reputable company to ensure that you’ve good travel arrangements. We have many packages offering discounted fares to Nigeria for Christmas, if you’re interested to spend Christmas with your family in Nigeria, call us now to book your tickets. We have years of experience in the field, so you can be sure that we’re going to facilitate you to have a safe and comfortable journey to Nigeria.