My Memories of Christmas in Nigeria
The Reason for the Season
The Joy that people experience during the Yuletide season is very infectious.Ever wondered why there is so much rush of Adrenalin pumping emotion of happiness,joy and goodwill in the air during the Christmas season? Many months before the expected month of December,as early as October speculations are made,plans are orchestrated and outlines drawn as to how the Christmas celebrations will turn out.
It is possible that a lot of people basking in the euphoria of this joyful season do not in the actual fact know or even recognise the reason for the season-The LORD JESUS CHRIST.The "Mystery" of Christmas is that you can only look for joy,happiness and goodwill when you navigate your thoughts towards this all important Christian celebration..
Growing up as child in Lagos Nigeria Christmas meant new clothes,shoes and hairdo and maybe that once in a year trip to the countryside:as far as Eastern Nigeria to see our grandparents and relations.It was common place to see children placing demands on their parent for new clothing after seeing the clothes of other children,so it became a tradition for parents to buy "Christmas clothes" and other accompaniment during the yuletide.
The mood,the weather and song.
It is Harmattan season always by December in Nigeria,this happen to be for me the best weather for the year.The wind and fog is a reminder that Christmas is fast approaching,the nostalgic feeling is further heightened the songs ebbing from mobile CD sellers as they move round the streets.You cannot help but sing along with with songs like gingle Bells gingle Bells,Marys little child and other traditional Christmas songs ranging from classical by Bonny M to the remix versions.
My Decorations and Activities
The streets gets busier and at this time of the year it is not unusual to be jolted suddenly by the sound of a bang!!!-"knockout" as it is called by children catching fun with fireworks.The sound of the bang triggers a timer in my subconscious that Christmas is "here",no matter how offensive it maybe to some people,"banger" or "knockout" symbolizes the unfolding festivities in view.In the spirit of the season Christmas decorations can be bought from almost any shop as traders catch in to display different types of Christmas light,Santa Claus costumes,pictures,gift items and any piece of decoration needed for the season.
I still remember a simple but nice decor i put up for the home.I get coloured ribbons or strings tie them to the edges of the sitting room but quite high to avoid obstruction,i put another string accross to get an X or cross shape then i look for old Christmas greeting cards and place them on the strings or ribbons with balloons in between,with this my decoration is set.
Count down begins
The exchange of pleasantries and greetings becomes "Compliments of the Season" after the conventional greetings.The television and radio stations hypes up the expectancy by playing loads of Christmas songs and requests from people who would like to send such to associates,friends and family.There is always an increase in shopping for Christmas from 22nd December as families try to get whatever is still needed for the celebration.It reaches a fever pitch by 24th December as the market places will be swarming with people making the last minute journey as count down to Christmas ticks away in minutes and seconds
HURRAY!!!! Its Christmas day,the whole family wakes up with smiling faces and exchange Merry Christmas greetings to one another,significantly celebrating Christmas reminds us that we have survived to see the end of another year.
For my family,the Christmas service is a very important part of the celebration,once we get home after the church service its merry merry all the way.For most Nigerian families rice and chicken is a traditional meal for Christmas besides the local delicacies,it can be prepared in different ways. Also we make sure provision is made for friends and anybody visiting on Christmas day. Food and drinks are always stocked for such hospitality.After eating and drinking,we play our favorite music,take photos and exchange gifts to one another also we intermittently rush to the balcony to view dancing masquerade groups performing in the street.The day passes on but slowly,though its always painful to see the 25th of December of every year pass by but the events of that day lingers in my memory.
Apart from the usual merry and drinking on this beautiful day,remembering the birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ every year is a continuous reminder that the savior is born and what joy and gladness the World should experience by his birth.