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Black Family Christmas Traditions: Top 8

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Despite most African countries experiencing Christmas during the summer when colorful flowers are in full bloom, the Christmas spirit is always the same. The festive season brings happiness, fun, love, and reflection of the year and helps people prepare for the New Year celebrations.  This season rekindles black family Christmas traditions.

For black people, Christmas is when families unite and celebrate like never before. Most people travel back to their birth towns for get-togethers’. The churches are filled, and fireworks rule the atmosphere during this period. 

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Here are the eight top Black family Christmas traditions. 

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Christmas Carols and Church Services

Timeless Christmas carols. Video Credit Timeless Music

Most black people consider church services as an important Christmas tradition. The churches celebrate and honor the day on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. 

For instance, in countries like Congo, churchgoers take different gifts to the communion table. Huge musical events are always organized in the church. In Malawi, kids will move from one household to another, performing Christmas carols while playing traditional instruments for cash donations. Most churches in Zambia organize nativity plays and sing carols in the streets during Christmas. 

In most countries, the midnight mass signals bedtime; however, it marks the start of partying in most African countries. For example, in Gambia, people organize joyous parties after Christmas Eve church service. Local dances are all over the towns, with large lanterns made from paper and bamboo resembling the shape of boats and houses. Most locals in Sierra Leone celebrate using colorful masquerade parties. 

Regardless of the size of the Christian population, most black people have their way of celebrating Christmas spiritually. However, since not all black people are Christians, they celebrate it anyway, the best way they know how.

If you are wondering how to plan for Christmas, check out a few guides on Amazon.

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Knock-Out Ritual 

Christmas in Nigeria is full of fireworks. It’s a ritual activity referred to as knockout. During the ritual, the locals come out with different types and rounds of fireworks. 

Both adults and kids run around with fireworks, pulling pranks on others. The events sometimes turn into war-like plays with the locals running helter-skelter. The excitement from the adrenaline-filled ritual and the lights accompanying the sounds are ecstatic. 

Experience Dad’s or Grandpa’s Favorite Life Story 

Stories for kids video. Video credit African folktales by Akwasi

Storytelling has a great spot in the African-American culture. Children look forward to the season as it’s another black family Christmas tradition. It’s an area where Africans have immense talent. This happens for those of African descent and Afro-Caribbean.

Christmas Eve is an excellent time for the younger generation to request a story from their dad or grandpa about their culture or past events.

Organize a Family Food Contest

Do you have any idea who makes the best cornbread? What about the best mac n’ cheese? It’s impossible to tell if you don’t have a contest. Christmas Eve is an excellent time for everyone to pick and make a dish. The ideal time for African American dishes. Contesters don’t have to prepare a whole foil pan; a small sampling for the judges will be enough. 

In most cases, the elders in the family are the judges. This will be super fun for the family, especially on Christmas Eve. Most black families get a prize to award the winner and always select a new dish to cook every Christmas Eve. 

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Gift Giving on Christmas Eve 

Gifts under the Christmas tree. Image Source Wikimedia by KGBO. Licensed Under CC BY SA-4.0

It doesn’t matter if you believe in Santa. Gift-giving has also become a great tradition during Christmas among blacks. However, people share gifts, although it’s a tradition to donate to orphanages and churches. Presents include candles, books, toys, food, clothes, and more. 

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Look out for amazing Christmas gifts and gift ideas on Amazon.

New clothes and food are the most popular presents in most black people’s homes. It doesn’t matter where you get the clothes from. To save, you can purchase new clothes or gifts a month or two before Christmas. The reason is most stores hike prices in December. 

Organize Special Christmas Feast Events 

Nyama choma barbeque. Image source Wikimedia by safaritravelplus. Licensed UNDER CC0 1.0

In every corner of the world, Christmas Eve is about celebrating the birth of Jesus. In fact, on Christmas day, black people dress to their best, prepare delicious meals, and feast together. 

For example, in Kenya, people prepare grilled meat, popularly known as ‘nyama choma‘ or meat stews, and enjoy it with their family members and friends. Memorable barbecues or famous outdoor braais are common in South Africa during Christmas. 

Tanzanians prefer roasting goat or cow and sharing it with the neighbors together with some local beer. Rice, beef, and biscuits are ubiquitous in Liberia. In Ghana, they prefer their local ‘fufu’ and ‘okra soup’ and the famous ‘Jollof rice’; in Nigeria, they prefer tomato stew, flavored rice, and fried goat or chicken. 

Similarly, in Trinidad and Tobago, children and adults move from house to house, sharing and enjoying sumptuous meals. 

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Create Unique Christmas Decorations 

Christmas decorating ideas. Video credit Omabelle TV

In most black homes, it’s a black family Christmas tradition to string up Christmas ornaments and decorate trees. For instance, in most African countries, you could come across Palm to mango and Cyprus trees bedazzled with ornaments like candles and bells. 

Most big hotels and stores go for extravagant decorations such as fake snow. 

Christmas Celebration Days in Africa Vary  

Most African countries celebrate Christmas on the 25th of December. However, Coptic Christians in Ethiopia and Egypt celebrate Christmas on the 7th of January using the old Julian calendar. 

Christmas festivities start immediately in December in Ghana. Most streets, shops, and homes are decorated with Christmas ornaments and lights. There are double celebrations in Ghana since the cocoa harvest also falls at the same time as Christmas. 

One of the best times to visit Africa is during Christmas, as you’ll experience the African Christmas. Besides, encounter the holiday’s heritage, culture, and vibe during the tour.  

Those are our top eight black family Christmas traditions. Which one do you look forward to?

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