Christmas in Ghana: How the holiday is celebrated in the country
Christmas is an annual festivity commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ and is observed mainly on the 25 of December as a religious and societal celebration by billions of people worldwide. It is a public holiday in many countries, such as Ghana, and most Christians religiously observe it. So, how much do you know about Christmas in Ghana?
Ghanaians observe Christmas with various activities from the 20th of December to the first week of January. Many of them travel during this time to visit relatives and friends who reside in other parts of the country. The following is how you can spend the Christmas holiday in Ghana.
How is Christmas celebrated by Christians in Ghana?
Ghana, like any other country, has its own Christmas traditions. The following are some of the activities that take place between Christmas Eve night and Christmas day.
Christmas Eve night is when the actual celebrations begin, with religious services that include drumming and dancing. Children frequently perform a Nativity Scene or other arts. Then choirs and people gather before the priests to sing and dance.
Songs are mainly sung in dialects, that most people understand. During this day, churches are highly crowded with individuals dressed in bright traditional garb.
After the service, they rush back to their homes in the morning to receive and give gifts. Before going home for a celebratory family meal, young kids receive gifts such as cookies, clothes or chocolates from Father Christmas.
Ghanaian Christmas food includes traditional dishes such as porridge, stew or okra soup, rice, meats, and a yam paste known as 'fufu.'
Fufu is a carbohydrate side dish made by combining and hammering cassava, a potato-like vegetable, with powdered green plantain, a banana-like fruit. The two are combined to form a paste, which is then cooked.
During the holidays, it is customary to eat four to five meals per day, with snacks in between. It is also an excellent time for neighbours and friends to frequently invite one another to a buffet.
What distinguishes Christmas in Ghana from other countries?
The day is celebrated by Christians all over the world, and the activities are usually similar. However, Ghanaians have their own distinct ways of celebrating the day. Among them are:
How do you say Merry Christmas in Ghana? During the festive period, Ghanaians frequently say 'Afishapa' to one another. The phrase is derived from Akan, one of the nation's most widely used languages, and interprets as 'Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.'
Egbona hee and egogo vo are common greetings on Christmas Eve which also translates as 'Christ is coming, he is near.'
Whereas Christmas trees are common across numerous cultures, they are uncommon in Ghanaian households.
Decorated Christmas trees in Ghana are typically mostly found in big hotels or shopping malls. There may also be a public tree in the town centre. These trees are commonly adorned with colourful paper ornaments made by children for their schools and homes.
Children all over the world are familiar with Father Christmas. Most people associate him with his long white beard and cherry-red outfit, though not in Ghana.
Typically, Ghanaian kids associate Father Christmas, or Papa Bronya, with sandals and a lovely red robe snipped with gold. His ensemble is completed by a conventionally shaped sash and a hooded white cloak.
Another distinction is the gifts given by Father Christmas. Rather than toys, Ghanaian children are frequently given food to eat.
Where in Ghana are the most significant festive celebrations?
Accra, Ghana's capital city, hosts the country's largest festivity celebrations. However, celebrations are also held in other towns such as Tamale, Kumasi, and Ashaiman Cape Coast.
Christmas in Accra has a long tradition of festivity celebrations. The first Christmas service occurred at the Anglican Church in 1823, and other denominations quickly followed the norm.
It is regarded as one of Ghana's most important religious holidays and a moment for families to gather. It's also a day when numerous individuals acknowledge God for all of the blessings given to them over the past year.
What is the importance of Christmas to Ghanaians?
The festivity season is meaningful in Ghana as it is in any other country and has always served as a justification to get together with friends and relatives. The following are some of the reasons why Ghanaians value this period.
- The Festive period reminds people of Ghana of the value of family, and it's also during this period they spend time with their beloved ones.
- It is also a moment for people to express gratitude to those who have assisted them over the year. As a result, many events in Ghana occur, particularly around the festivity period.
- It is a period that represents peace, joy, love, and goodwill, which is a perfect mental state for everybody to be in while spending time with their cherished ones.
- During this festivity season, they receive and exchange presents, participate in social community events such as street parties and community gatherings, and or attend religious services.
Christmas in Ghana is celebrated through various activities from the 20th of December to the first week of January. Ghanaians spend this time with their loved ones and attend church to thank God for protecting and providing for them throughout the year.
Yen.com.gh recently published an engaging article about Farmers' Day in Ghana. Ghana observes National Farmers Day on the first Friday of December each year to recognize the efforts of farmers and fishermen.
On Farmers Day, Ghana's Ministry of Food and Agriculture gives special awards to deserving farmers and fishermen. It's at this time that most of these awardees get a chance to talk to policymakers about agricultural technological advances.