Christmas in Namibia

Namibia, officially the Republic of Namibia is a country in southern Africa whose western border is the Atlantic Ocean. It shares land borders with Angola and Zambia to the north, Botswana to the east and South Africa to the south and east.

Its capital and largest city is Windhoek.

Christmas in Namibia

Christmas Celebrations in Namibia :

Namibia is a country of many cultures, so there is no ‘one’, socially acceptable form of Christmas. Christmas for a German-speaking family in Namibia is on the night of December 24 (Christmas Eve). The build-up starts four Sundays before Christmas, when a special Advent wreath made from twigs with four thick, red candles decorates the lounge table. Each Advent Sunday one more candle is lit until all four candles are burning. During the week, families usually light the candles on the wreath as well, making the atmosphere cosy.

Namibia celebrates two Christmases. Many of the Namibian Germans celebrate their Christmas and give gifts on Christmas Eve. For the rest of Namibia, the celebration is on Christmas Day. Churches follow the pattern of services on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning.

Christmas in Namibia

As in most countries that celebrate Christmas, the shop decorations begin to come out in October. The typical commercial Christmas tree is evident in many Namibian homes. Many people opt for branches of the Camelthorn tree which are entirely more suited to the spirit of a Namibian Christmas. The long white thorns make excellent hooks for decorations. Inland a thorn bush is often used and decorated like a traditional Christmas tree with many wooden figurines and glass and metallic ornaments and use electric ‘candles’. These are often very old and precious, handed down for generations. The tree is usually put up in the sitting room a day or two before December 24 and that room is out of bounds for the children until then. This heightens the joy and mystery of Christmas. Presents are usually put under the Christmas tree and are opened on Christmas Eve after the family has sung Christmas carols.

Each family member receives his or her own ‘Weihnachtsteller’, a decorated plate with home-baked Christmas cookies, nuts and chocolates to nibble on during the festive days. The whole family has a festive meal on Christmas Eve – often a roast duck. If there are small children, everyone goes to the Christmas mass or church service early in the evening, followed by the giving of gifts and the meal. If the children are older, families mostly attend the late-night mass after the presents have been opened and dinner is over.

“If anything else is common to the Namibian Christmas, it is the fact that Christmas is a time of red meat. Although turkey has made its appearance in some households, it is not a major phenomenon. The period from about a month before to a month after Christmas is usually bone dry and very, very hot. Tempers tend to get ragged as the oppressive temperature rises and people begin to dry out. Fortunately the prospect of Christmas keeps everyone in a fairly good mood. In rural communities it is not unusual to slaughter a goat. Beef is fairly commone. The traditional accompaniment for the vast majority of Namibians is ‘pap’, a stiff maize porridge or porridge made from Mahangu, Namibia’s version of millet.

Wishing all readers Merry Christmas 2019 & Happy New Year 2020 !!!