Dazzling lights, deafening car horns, and children shouting at the top of their lungs. This isn’t a bad traffic situation. It is Christmas in Nigeria, one of the most beautiful times of the year.
Sounds of the church bell ringing, sweet melodies, and the sheer joy on the old man’s wrinkled face. It is once again that beautiful time of the year when love is all that matters.
Christmas is one of the most celebrated holidays in the world and in Nigeria. Nigerian celebration of Christmas gives an opportunity for families to come together to have a feel of each other after being away all year long. They come together to thank the lord for another year, share stories, and revel in the company of each other.
In this article, we have gone through the stress for you by putting together what Christmas in Nigeria is like. What it is like to celebrate it in a Nigerian household, and what you should expect during this time.
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Christmas in Nigeria
In Nigeria, the Christmas celebration goes on for almost a month. However, preparations begin quite early. The anticipation of Christmas in Nigeria starts in November, which is part of what you call “Ember months”. Decorations start to appear in places. Businesses will begin to offer promos on their product, and so on.
A lot of households get into the Christmas groove pretty early on. With children anticipating their Christmas clothes, grandparents preparing to receive the entire family. And farm owners weighing up their profits from their livestock during this month.
From the second week of December, Nigeria gets to witness wild movements from all over. A lot of citizens plan their journey to their villages or home town to see their parents after a long time away. They would also get the chance to celebrate with the rest of the family, a lot of which they have not contacted for long.
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Christmas Traditions in Nigeria
Although Christmas is a global celebration, it will not be “Christmasy” in Nigeria enough if it doesn’t have its uniqueness. From the clothes to the hairdo, Christmas in Nigeria is always different. It is a blend of the Western way of celebrating Christmas and the traditional way of doing it in Nigeria.
Christmas in Nigeria is more about Family, as it is also a religious celebration. Although decorations go up everywhere, the biggest delight is the coming together to create laughter and bond among family members.
There are some traditions that go on when Christmas comes around in Nigeria.
1. Eve of Christmas
The day before Christmas, the entire family will come together to join hands in prayer. They thank the Lord for keeping everybody safe and sound from their various destinations and also pray for a safe return to their various homes. This prayer is set for midnight so everybody can happily wish each other a merry Christmas.
Christmas Eve sees a number of households in Nigeria rocking with different activities. Preparing what to cook for Christmas, filling and storing drinks, sorting out the wears, and ensuring things are for the guests visiting.
2. Day of Christmas in Nigeria
This is the most significant day of the Christmas period in Nigeria. It is a day when a number of activities will go down, with every member of the family contributing their bit to make it a memorable celebration for all.
The first activity of the day is preparation for the church for Thanksgiving. Church on Christmas day in Nigeria is not just for giving thanks to the highest. It is a day to be jolly and put on your new attire. The children are not left out, either. They are fully dressed in their clothes specially prepared for the occasion.
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3. Christmas Parties
Most Christmas parties in Nigeria are not public things. It is majorly for their households. But some people organize a little party outside to accommodate friends they grew up with and the people they invited to come to celebrate with them.
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4. Christmas Gifts in Nigeria
When you talk about Christmas in Nigeria, there are no restrictions on the type of gift you can receive or get someone. Usually, Christmas gifts in Nigeria come in the form of cash and devices such as mobile phones and so on.
When that your uncle that has promised you a new phone says, he’s coming for Christmas. Excitement fills every part of your body because you know it is going to be a merry Christmas. Your uncle wouldn’t want to disappoint the cute little child.
5. Street Carnivals
These vary from the parties organized by the village or the community to bring everybody together in a jolly mood. Or the funded carnivals by one rich individual or the government across different parts of the country. All in the mood for Christmas.
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6. Neighbors on Christmas
If you have a good relationship with your neighbors, Christmas is also another day to show them love. No matter the religion they are part of. Loving neighbors on Christmas are always expecting your Christmas rice and chicken. They will want to have a taste of it to celebrate with you, and you sure don’t want to disappoint.
A friendly bant is always going on when you don’t serve them delicious chicken. Especially your Muslim Neighbors would be like, “Christmas come we no see anything ooo Ileya go meet us alive sha.” This is just a friendly showing that they wanted to have a taste of your delicious meal.
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7. The Food
The official Christmas delicacy in Nigeria is Rice, but it comes in a number of ways. It can be prepared as it is with a sweet stew to follow, or it can come in the form of Jollof rice or fried rice.
All of these come with the sweet taste of the chicken. But, because it is Christmas in Nigeria, there will surely be a variety of dishes to be served. The food can be served with goat meat and also spice everything up.
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8. Christmas Decorations
Christmas decorations in Nigeria are somewhat of a subdued thing. Most Nigerian homes are not accustomed to Christmas trees and lights as they just keep it simple. However, different outlets give us the feeling of Christmas. Shopping malls, Grocery stores, banks, and corporate bodies sponsor various Christmas decorations across the country.
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Wishing People a Merry Christmas in Nigeria using Different Languages
- Ibibio: “Idara Ukapade Usua”
- Yoruba: “Aku odun aku iyedun o…emi a se pupo e”
- Igbo: “E keresimesi oma”
- Hausa: “Barka da kirisimati”
FAQs for Christmas in Nigeria
What is the meaning of Christmas?
Christmas is about the birth of God’s Son – Jesus. It is about how he came to give us love, hope, and joy.
Is a Christmas tree important to celebrate Christmas?
The Christmas tree tradition is attributed to the symbolic use of ancient Egypt and Rome. Back then, it was believed that evergreens would ward off witches, ghosts, evil spirits, and illness. This tradition was then tweaked by the Germans in the 16th century, who began to light up Christmas trees.
Do Nigerians put up Christmas trees?
On Christmas day, almost everyone attends church. It is tradition to decorate churches, homes, and compounds with woven and unwoven palm fronds, Christmas trees, and lights.
Do Nigerians believe in Santa Claus?
Following the festivities on Christmas Eve, Nigerians head to church to give thanks to God, and presents are exchanged among family members. Some families take their children dressed in their new outfits to see Santa Claus, also known as Father Christmas.
Christmas in Nigeria is always a special time that brings families together to share the good moments. It has been fun giving you the gist about how Christmas in Nigeria usually goes. We hope you like it too.