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How Christmas is celebrated in Nigeria

Updated on January 1, 2013

Christmas is one of the most important celebrations in Nigeria, a country in West Africa, which has a large number of Christians mostly in the middle belt and southern Nigeria. It is an annual event that is a public holiday and the period is marked by celebrations before, during and after the D-day.

Schools start closing for Christmas season by around November ending and lots of public companies too wind up their businesses by early December. Families get closer, people get more religious, churches hold parish events and shopping for Christmas often begins at about 2 weeks to Christmas.

Christmas doesn't happen everyday but when it does happen Nigerians love to celebrate big and use the period as a time to thank God who has helped them see the year successfully. It is a time for thanksgiving, forgiveness and renewal. It is also a time for shopping, holding public events and visiting relations.

Some of the things Nigerians do during Christmas season

  • Travelling to urban areas like their ancestral villages
  • Large scale shopping
  • Attending and holding public events like traditional marriages,
  • Going for outings
  • Visiting friends and relatives
  • Holding annual general town meetings
  • Attending Church service
  • Having feasts
  • Christmas carols
  • Giving gifts

What they do on Christmas day specifically

  • Attending Church
  • Holding a family prayer
  • Having a family feast.
  • Visiting friends to join in their feasts
  • Going out for fun

During Christmas day in Nigeria, most busy towns tend to get less busy and a lot of people would have migrated to rural areas where they meet with relatives they may not have seen for a long time. People also use the opportunity to visit places they've not been too for a while.

Some Nigerians like to spend Christmas in the city while some like to travel to their home towns which are mostly rural areas. Both places however are normally filled with a lot of celebrations. In the city, during Christmas celebrations, traffic on road is reduced and celebrations like carnivals and Christmas carols and parties hold while in the villages, other more traditional activities like town meetings, slaughtering of animals, masquerade dancing, traditional marriages, house warming ceremonies also hold and personally, I tend to enjoy Christmas better in the village than in the city.


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