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Article: Christmas Traditions in Africa: A Mosaic of Celebrations

Tradiciones Navideñas en África: Un Mosaico de Celebraciones - LamuBrand

Christmas Traditions in Africa: A Mosaic of Celebrations

Christmas is a time of year full of magic, lights and joy. In Africa, as in other parts of the world, it is a time of celebration and joy. However, traditions vary significantly from country to country, reflecting the rich cultural diversity of the continent. Join us to discover some of them.

Ethiopia and Eritrea

In Ethiopia and Eritrea, Christmas, or Genna, is celebrated with great religious fervor. The churches are filled with songs and prayers during midnight mass. The traditional clothing, the "shamma", a type of white tunic, is an essential element of the celebration. The games, especially "ye genna chewata", a game similar to hockey, are popular among young people. Typical meals include dishes such as "injera" (flat bread) and "wat" (a type of stew). In these countries, Christmas is celebrated on January 7, following the calendar of the Orthodox Church. On Christmas Eve, January 6, many people fast all day until dawn, preparing soul and body for the corresponding celebration.


In Ghana, Christmas is a time of family gatherings and religious services. Celebrations include singing, dancing and parades, highlighted by its vibrant Winneba Carnival. This festival is famous for its colorful parades, music and traditional dances.

Churches and homes are decorated with palms and lights. Religious services, songs and parades are an integral part of the festivities. F ood plays an important role, family gatherings focus on banquets with traditional dishes such as "fufu" (an Afro-Caribbean tuber) and "okra soup" that are common on Christmas tables. A feast shared by family and close neighbors who usually gather to eat, the gifts, although not as commercialized, are a gesture of love and togetherness.


Christmas in Nigeria is a big social event, with churches and homes decorated with palms and branches. The Misa de Gallo is a common practice. Festive meals include traditional Nigerian dishes such as jollof rice and rice with peas. Celebrations also include music, dancing and parades. The activities are usually held in a park called Santa Claus or in green areas of the towns, where while children receive gifts, adults enjoy concerts of various music and Christmas festivals where Christmas characters and carols abound.

South Africa

Since Christmas falls during the summer in South Africa, celebrations often include outdoor activities such as braai , the traditional barbecue that often lasts late into the night and becomes an occasion to gather around the firewood, having fun together, opening Christmas presents, as well as relaxing, surfing or practicing other water sports. Midnight Mass and decorating homes with lights and Christmas trees are common. Christmas markets and carol performances are also popular.


In Kenya, Christmas is primarily a family event centered around gatherings and meals. One of the most popular Christmas foods in Kenya is "Nyama Choma" , similar to barbecue. It involves roasting your favorite meat, such as beef, chicken, lamb or goat, and accompanying the meal with side dishes such as rice and chapati. And let's not forget the beer! In the city, people often go to bars and restaurants to enjoy a drink together, while in rural areas people often brew their own local beer. Most churches in Kenya hold night vigils, or 'Kesha', on Christmas Eve, worshipers gather to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and sing hymns and carols. Some churches even recreate the sacred event with nativity plays; at midnight, churches ring bells to commemorate the birth of Christ, while people sing songs of praise to honor the beginning of Christmas Day. Instead of the traditional spruce or pine, you will see decorated cypress trees in Kenya.

You can even see Santa Claus wandering around the shops in big cities like Nairobi, but he usually changes his warm winter suit for something cooler under the hot Kenyan sun! Furthermore, the Kenyan Santa Claus does not arrive on a sleigh with his reindeer, but rather comes to deliver gifts by camel, Land Rover or even by bicycle.

An African Christmas Celebration with the Lamu Advent Calendar

As we explore the rich and varied Christmas traditions of Africa, we at Lamu want to bring a piece of this wonderful celebration to your home. That is why we have created a special Advent Calendar , inspired by the various cultures and customs we have discovered. Each day of the calendar reveals a unique piece that reflects the spirit and beauty of Africa, from handcrafted jewelry to traditional decorations.

This Advent Calendar is not just a countdown of the days until Christmas, but an invitation to experience and celebrate the diversity and richness of African traditions. With it, we bring a little of the magic of Africa to your home, connecting you with the joy and community spirit that make Christmas on this continent truly unique.

Celebrate this special season with us, discovering a new surprise every day and letting the Lamu Advent Calendar guide you on an unforgettable journey through the essence of African Christmas.

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