Home ARTS & CULTUREFESTIVALS Exploring Nigeria’s Top 5 Festive Christmas Traditions

Exploring Nigeria’s Top 5 Festive Christmas Traditions

by inlandtownadmin
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Christmas in Nigeria is a huge celebration for all the citizens, not only those who belong to the Christian faith. A lot of people travel home to their villages and the families who remain in town, come together to celebrate and have fun. From long parties on Christmas eve to caroling, feasting, and gift-giving, high spirit celebrations abound all through the season. However, there are certain customs and traditions that are unique and now associated with Nigerians for the holiday. While some are sweet, others strike us as rather quirky.

Christmas Cloth

Nigerians, regardless of tribe, religion, or social status, enthusiastically shop for the holidays. Especially on December 25th, they choose stunning attire. Some families even create custom designs, matching fabrics, or uniform colors for everyone. In certain areas, families compete with elaborate styles during holiday visits. It all adds to the holiday fun and excitement.

Christmas Rice

The idea of Christmas rice has become a tradition in the country. You hear friend asking each other, “Where is my Christmas rice?” or making such comments as “I will visit you for my Christmas rice.” While the rice is can be prepared in a variety of ways- either jollof rice or fried rice, it is customary that rice is available for guests when they call on you for x-mas. The rice can be garnished with chicken, goat meat and combined with other appetizers or desserts, depending on what the family can afford. This is also the reason why some companies gift their workers with rice and oil prior to the holiday.

Christmas tree and decorations
Like most other countries of the world, Nigerians go all out with Christmas decorations. Beyond families decorating homes with Christmas trees and lights, major streets, malls, and offices are also adorned festively. People exchange Christmas cards with loved ones, and celebrities participate in elaborate photo shoots for cards distributed to fans and supporters, all in the holiday spirit.

All-day Knock-out
Knock-out is the popular phrase Nigerians use for firecrackers and bangers. Almost every Nigerian pops some fireworks all through the 25th of December – Christmas day. It usually starts on the Christmas Eve. Some families actually make a ceremony out of it, making videos and posting online or on their family pages. Smaller children tend to take advantage of the custom to play pranks on passersby, throwing the firecracker around them while they least suspect it. The lights and rush of adrenalin that comes with the knock-outs is what makes the tradition so exciting.

Father Christmas
Originally, Nigerians expect only “father Christmas” to visit them on Christmas day with gifts and goodie bags. Santa’s influence in the country is recent, introduced through American media and migrants. Offices now host ‘Secret Santa’ events, involving gift exchanges, wish lists, and families dressing children in new outfits to meet Santa Claus. The good thing is that both concepts are the same, except for the mix up with names.

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