Christmas in Nigeria

Nigeria officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal constitutional republic. Nigeria is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in the north. Its coast in the south lies on the Gulf of Guinea on the Atlantic Ocean.

The Capital and the Largest city of this country is Abuja.

Christmas in Nigeria

Christmas Celebrations in Nigeria :

With a majority of Muslim about 40 % of Nigerians are Christianity. Muslims predominate in northern Nigeria, while Christianity is strongest in the southern part of the country.

Christmas in Nigeria is a family event, a time when lots of family members come together to celebrate and have fun. Christmas Day is a public holiday in Nigeria which is always marked by the emptying of towns and cities as Nigerians that have been successful returning to their ancestral villages to be with family and to bless those less fortunate. Many families will throw Christmas parties. Then, on Christmas Morning, they go to church to give thanks to God. Homes and streets are often decorated. Most homes will have an artificial Christmas tree. Children love to play with firecrackers at Christmas. The church choir may visit the church congregation in their homes to sing Christmas carols to them. Christmas cards are sent to friends and family members. Presents are exchanged among family members and some families may take their children dressed in new outfits to see Santa Claus. Christmas carols are very popular and they can be heard right from the beginning of December in anticipation of Christmas.

Christmas in Nigeria

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. In Calabar, a city in southeastern Nigeria where many ethnic Ibibio live, wandering companies in colorful attire perform traditional folk dramas and masquerades at Christmas time. The Ibo/Igbo people, who make up about 28 percent of the country’s population, are especially well known for their devotion to spending Christmas with their families.

People go to the West African markets to buy and transport live chickens, goats and cows that will be needed for the Christmas meals. On Christmas Eve, traditional meals are prepared according to the traditions of each region. Rather than having sweets and cakes, Nigerians as a whole tend to prepare various meats in large quantities. In the south, a dish called Jollof rice is served with stews of various meats along with boiled beans and fried plantains; in the north, Rice and Stew as well as Tuwon Shinkafa, a rice pudding served with various meat stews, is preferred. In the North several local desserts are also made which is hardly ever found in other parts of Nigeria. An alternative in both regions (but more favored in the south) is a pepper soup with fish, goat, or beef which may also be served with Fufu (pounded yam). 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. Nigerians enjoy good food and loud music and Christmas is the perfect time for them to indulge in it.

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.

Many different languages are spoken in Nigeria. In Hausa Happy/Merry Christmas is ‘barka dà Kirsìmatì'; in Yoruba it’s ‘E ku odun, e ku iye’dun'; in Fulani it’s ‘Jabbama be salla Kirismati'; in Igbo (Ibo) ‘E keresimesi Oma’ and it’s Edo it’s ‘Iselogbe’.

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