Are you ready to celebrate this season? What have you lined up for yourself and for your family? Will you be travelling to your village? What are you going with this time? Well, a sincere answer to all the questions above will give an insight on the major things (festivities) people do during Christmas.
Naturally, Nigerians are some of the most boisterous people on earth. This energy comes to life at Christmas. The festivity serves as the perfect opportunity for people to embark on trips and excursions. One would think that for most persons, it is about celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. But the truth remains that people have their own different agenda for themselves during that time.
Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus in the Christian religion, which falls on December 25. The period around this is celebrated by different people in different ways, especially in Nigeria. However, there are some common things done that characterize the festive season for lots of Nigerians. They may not be traditions, but they are sure to happen every year.
In Nigeria, the Christmas celebration receives substantial influence from the indisputable Nigerian spirit. With over half of her population bearing allegiance to the Christian faith and residing mainly in the south, Christmas is a big deal in Nigeria. So much so that individuals begin to make plans for celebrating Christmas, right from the beginning of the year!
So if you will be visiting with family and friends, there are some activities to look forward to. Nigerians schedule weddings, child dedications, birthdays, and even car launches for the end of the year. To help you prepare for these festivities, we have made a list.
Baby dedication is a wonderful moment in which parents make a public statement of faith to raise their child under God’s grace and wisdom. Dedicating your child to God shows that recognize your child as a gift from God and you are dedicating yourself to being a godly example to your child. Baby dedication does not secure salvation, rather it is a symbolic moment of entrusting the child’s life to God’s will.
As a family member, call before time. The call is to know if there are specifications as to the gifts they want for their baby. If they do not have anything in mind, then walk into a baby shop. Clothes, bathing assessories, body creams and soaps will always be appreciated. If you won’t have time to do that shopping, give the cash in an envelope. Never buy baby food because the baby’s parents will suspect of ill intentions.
In Nigeria, marriage is very important in Igbo culture and the traditional rites attached to the union arent taken lightly by families. It is a custom that traditional marriage in Nigeria is done before white/church weddings as culture demands.
In Igbo Land, there is something called ‘Igba Nkwu’ which means Wine carrying. It is the official traditional wedding ceremony practised by the Igbos. Before getting to this stage, the groom-to-be’s family pays a visit to the Bride’s family in an act called ‘door-knocking’. This is done as an act of asking the parent of the bride for her hand in marriage and it is usually scheduled for end of the year. Reason? So everyone can be around and the gifts the couple will receive will be more.
Also, most persons leave their weddings till December because they want most family members to be in attendance. In case you have not noticed, Nigerians are a communal people; they appreciate family and enjoy times together.
To attend, join a train, buy the assign fabric and sew the chosen design. When it is time, go earlier so you can help with preparations. Some times, ones presence at these preparations cover as gifts. Being there for a couple is more appreciated than any gift one would get for them.
When it is all over, help with packing and cleaning. Help them transition and whenever you call, people in their numbers will answer.
Some Igbo businessmen have said that December has the year’s highest discounts and best. That many automakers launch the upcoming year’s models (especially in September) and that the launch is what affects the price. Basically, they mean to say that it is cheaper to buy in that period. But we know the truth.
Most car launches during this period is a show-off. Nigerians are the kind of people who will work all through the year only to spend their earnings and savings during christmas. For them, it is show of hard work and achievement. If you have worked as hard as you claim, then you should have something to show for it. The funny part? No one really cares about how the celebrant came about the money. All people want to do is gather round, eat what has been provided and go back to their homes to gossip.
For this, you don’t have to go bearing gifts. The new owner usually throws a party and invites people to come celebrate with him. Go only with good intentions, because anything you do can be miscontrued. At that point, everybody is either a suspect or an enemy of progress.
When some people travel home, especially in the East, it is sometimes to acquire lands. After acquisition, they put money down for the building to commence. What most of these men don’t understand is that life is not a competition. You see that it becomes a person’s life ambition to start building as soon as another (maybe a younger brother) does.
To particpate, be around for the dedication. Join them in prayers and the family bond will grow tighter.
What we have above is not a complete list, but they are the given. There is no Christmas with the celebrations mentioned above. However, there are things to note.
Things to note:
The economic situation just before the start of the festivities will determine, to a large extent, how Christmas is celebrated. If the year was kind to both business people and those gainfully employed? Then expect collective energy and passion. Shopping, traveling and other associated activities gather momentum and reach a crescendo during and after Christmas across most parts of Nigeria.
However, if there are economic headwinds, expect to meet people who become prudent managers of resources. Spending and other activities undergo censorship, with a hopeful eye on the New Year. All the “Uncle, do Christmas for me” will be met by denial and rejection. You will encounter somber commentary from business people and sellers, who will complain of bad market and how the old Christmas celebrations were better.
At Christmas, Nigerians in diaspora return home to felicitate with friends and family. For others, it a time to return to villages and hamlets, away from their businesses/jobs. Overall, expect a lot of traffic in persons and goods. The law enforcement agencies usually have their hands full, ensuring that lives and properties are not lost during the yuletide.
Lastly, in keeping with the spirit of Christmas, Nigerians engage in traditional Yuletide practices, these include the staging of carols, nativities and choir concerts.