Out of Africa is the theme for this week's JAC Oldies but Goodies challenge and you know what that means. I had to look up African Christmas traditions and I wish I had had more time for it. I am fully aware that I have to rely on other people on the web for posts like this one as I can't offer any personal insights on the topic. One thing that has been mentioned often is that Christmas in Africa is by far not as commercialized as it is in North America and Europe. It's about celebrating, coming together with the family, having good food, going to church, but what else is tradition in some of the African countries? In Ethiopia and Egypt Christmas is celebrated on the 7th of January. In Egypt the Coptic Christians do what is called "lent fasting". It lasts 43 days and during that time they are not allowed to eat milk, meat, fish, and eggs. In Ethiopia Christmas is called "Ganna". People fast on Christmas Eve. At dawn of Ganna they traditionally wear white cotton clothes with colorful stripes at the ends resembling old Roman togas. They are called "shamma". In big towns shamma are not obligatory. In Ghana festivities start in advent. They fall together with the end of the cocoa harvest. On Christmas Eve there's a special church service with choirs singing, hymns, and nativity plays. There's a legend about the midwife Anna who is said to have helped in the birth of the Christ child which is told on Christmas. A traditional part of Christmas meal is a yam paste called "fufu". In Congo churches host musical events on Christmas Eve. Some churches have several choirs, there's a long nativity play starting with creation and the Garden of Eden and ending with Herod, and there is dancing. Compared to that Christmas Day is usually spent very quietly. In Liberia the common greeting on Christmas is "My Christmas is on you" which means the greeting person expects to get a good gift or money. Instead of Santa there is "Old Man Bayka", the local "devil" who walks up and down the street and demands gifts. In Malawi children go from door to door on Christmas Day, sing Christmas carols and dance wearing special clothes made from leaves. Of course I could only pick out a few facts, but you can visit the links at the end of the post to read much more! Now it's time to see what the JAC members have come up with for this challenge. Enjoy!
P.S. If anything of what I tell you is wrong, by the way, please let me know (I know that I'm seriously getting tired of finding the "German" Christmas pickle tradition again and again and I don't want you to feel the same way about my stories)!