December 11, 2014

Christmas in Africa

Filed under: Check It Out,Christmas Time!,Musical Musing,Teh Interwebs — Katrina @ 11:00 pm

You’d think I should know better now after what happened last week, but I’ve continued browsing cool Christmas stuff on Wikipedia. And so far there has been significantly less child abuse.

I was looking through the Christmas Traditions article, with what countries all over the world do at Christmas. It’s pretty neat. Haven’t gotten all the way through it yet.

I had the radio on, playing the Christmas music. And guess what notoriously geographically-impaired song came on!

“There won’t be snow in Africa this Christmas time. The greatest gift they’ll get this year is light. Where nothing ever grows, no rain nor rivers flow… do they know it’s Christmas time at all?”

Umm…

Christmas in South Africa is a public holiday celebrated on 25 December. Many European traditions are maintained despite the distance from Europe.

Christmas trees are set up in homes and the children are given presents in their stockings. Traditional ‘fir’ Christmas trees are popular and children leave a stocking out for Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. The gift bearer is Santa Claus on Christmas Eve.

The Christmas meal is mince pies, turkey, roast beef or a barbecue outdoors. The meal is finished with Christmas Pudding. Christmas crackers are used to make noise.

Okay, I guess they don’t mean South Africa. Surely the rest of Africa is devoid of holiday spirit- oh…

Christmas Day is a public holiday in Nigeria which is always marked by the emptying of towns and cities as Nigerians that have been successful returning to their ancestral villages to be with family and to bless those less fortunate. As the towns and cities empty, people jam the West African markets to buy and transport live chickens, goats and cows that will be needed for the Christmas meals.

On Christmas Eve, traditional meals are prepared according to the traditions of each region. Rather than having sweets and cakes, Nigerians as a whole tend to prepare various meats in large quantities.

Huh. Okay, Nigeria seems to have this whole Christmas thing down. But then again, that song was more specifically about Ethiopia, right? And it’s not like they- oh, look at that!

Christmas Day in Ethiopia is celebrated on January 7. Many people who are Christian in Ethiopia, go to Church on the Eve of Christmas, and stay there all night until 4am the next day on Christmas while doing many spiritual prayer and rituals like Liturgy and Holy Communion.

Oh, snap!

Well, alright. Ethiopia has a lot of Coptic Christians. They in fact do know it’s Christmas time, just like Nigeria and South Africa. But maybe it’s just them, and that the rest of Africa doesn’t know about Christmas…

Or they do, since according to this map, only in Morocco, Mauritania, Libya, Tunisia, SADR, and Somalia is Christmas NOT a public holiday.

Though the song is from 30 years ago so who knows what’s different between then and now. And there’s some new version of it out now that seems to have changed the above line. That’s something. But the original is played frequently, complete with misleading information. And it’s stuck in my head now and I’m still annoyed because it’s three weeks into the Christmas music and I’ve only heard them play Canon twice with its nice lyrics of not-totally-sure-what-but-at-least-not-geographical-misrepresentation. :irked:

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