It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas and South Africans across the country are getting ready to celebrate their version of this year’s holiday. Christmas is a public holiday in South Africa and very popular in the major cities and small towns. According to a recent article by Saintinfo, nearly two-thirds of South Africa’s population practices Christianity, making Christmas a major holiday for most. But you won’t be dreaming of a snowy Christmas while celebrating in South Africa. Due to the location of the country in the southern hemisphere, Christmas comes in the summer, which is entirely different than the wintry holidays of the United States. As one would expect, there are plenty of outdoor celebrations during the holiday, families are known to go camping, and of course schools are on break for the summer, making it a wonderful holiday for the young ones.
South Africans continue to focus on the religious aspect of the holiday; however, over time they have adopted various commercial aspects of Christmas including Christmas trees, decorations, and other holiday practices. Traditional meals vary between groups, from moatwana—a stew made of chicken feet— in the Basotho culture, to Vendan stews with maize, meat and spinach, to morogo, served in Ndebele households. Other popular favorites are umngqusho in the Xhosa tradition, amadumbe in the Zulu culture, and chicken or goat meat enjoyed by Nguni families. Barbecues are also popular—after all, it is summertime!
Whether you live in snowpacked New England during the winter, visit the beaches in Florida, or travel to South Africa during the Christmas holiday, the spirit is in the air and may all have a good night. However you say it, happy holidays!
UKhisimusi omuhle! Krismesi emnandi!