Christmas in Nigeria

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Christmas celebrations in Nigeria are very unique. Nigerians have very specific practices that they follow. Plenty of preparation occurs in advance. A couple weeks prior, people buy lots of hens, turkeys, goats and cows. Children find excitement in tormenting the animals and loitering around them, mostly staring at them. Frantic plans are made for travel, holidays and exchanging of gifts in the build up to Christmas day.

Christmas Eve is not made a fuss of unlike other countries such as America however, during the time preceding Christmas, families get together both in the towns and villages. The main focus is Christmas day. Tradition meals are prepared on Christmas Eve.

In Yoruba, meals usually consist of Iyan (pounded yam) eba or amala, served over with peppery stewed vegetables. Inevitably people find themselves eating this meal three to four times a day, due to visiting family and friends and being offered this tradition meal in their houses. In Yoruba it is frowned upon and is very rude to decline food upon offering.

There are many other dishes well prepared on Christmas Eve. A chicken and rice stew, similar to an Indian curry stew. Some families would prepare a delicacy called Moin-moin; which is blended black eyed beans, mixed with vegetable oil and diced liver, prawns, chicken, fish and beef. This fulfilling mouth watering concoction is then wrapped inside large leaves and steamed until cooked.

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 Christmas lights. There is lots of energy in the streets; festive jubilation's consist of loud crackling of an array of firework displays, luminous starry fire crackers going off. Colorful tradition masquerades on stilts parade around the events. Of course everyone have their best clothes on and children mill around playing amongst the fun.

Worldwide famous traditions such as Santa Claus, the Christmas tree, the wreath, the mistletoe and yole-log etc have obviously influence the Nigerian Christmas but are not strictly adhered to throughout the celebrations.

Boxing day is used, like in many other countries as an extension to the holiday, people make use out of this extra day by visiting local beaches, spending time at picnic points and other attractions. There are also sometimes dancer and masquerades on the streets.

Nigeria really does have amazing traditions and family qualities within their way of life, especially at Christmas. Everyone can personalise their own festival; family’s enthusiasm and vigour are second to none.