5 African christmas traditions done to mark the special time of year

How Africa is inventing its own Christmas traditions to celebrate the birth of Jesus

Christmas is celebrated by Christians to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ with most of the common traditions observed appearing more European.

In some parts of Africa however, there have been frantic efforts to Africanize the birth of Jesus by twisting the European traditions to suit African values by moving away from the Christmas tree and Santa Claus.

The Bacalao in Guinea Bissau

Christians in Bissau, celebrate Christmas with a plate of dried Scandinavian cod fish known as ‘bacalao’. The custom is observed on the eve of Christmas and is popular with many homes during the festive period. Once fed, family members look around for tiny gift customary wrapped in socks as shared by other relations as well as friends.

Ekon Play and Palm Fronds in Nigeria

Nigerians mark Christmas by using palm fronds to symbolize peace.

The Ekon Play is a key part of Christmas celebrations in Nigeria, where a drama group dances with a doll symbolizing the Christ Child.  After exchanging gifts, old and young participate in street life with rousing parties for the next two days.

 The Christmas Goat in Kenya

In Ghana and most parts of West Africa, chicken and turkey are the main source of meat during Christmas but in Kenya, Christmas is never complete without the goat roasting barbeques characterized with lots of fun!

 Baptism in Madagascar

In Madagascar, Christmas is the time of mass baptism of children. There is also a tradition of visiting elders and other highly respected people in certain community to show love and care.

Street Carnivals in Ghana

Streets of Ghana’s capital Accra are exciting during Christmas with the Oxford Street in Osu hosting a lot musical concerts and carnivals to celebrate the festival.


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