One of the best times of the year for many people is around the corner. The Christmas period is seen as a period to have good times with families and friends. Preparation for this time of the year starts in the first month of the year; man’s hustles and bustles through the calendar year is celebrated during this festive period.
Christmas in Nigeria
Christmas gives many the opportunity to travel home to meet their loved ones, buy new clothing, eat special food on Christmas Day, and so on. Talking about special food, what food is really special during Christmas needs to be known.
The Christmas period is a time of the year where people share good tidings among which is food commonly shared. Foods are always in surplus as neighbors and relatives share different delicacies especially on Christmas day.
I remember in my home, we always cook two types of food during this season. Pounded yam with ‘egusi’ (melon soup) which happens to be one of my family’s favorite is prepared but this time made special with ‘isapa’ leaf (Roselle calyx). The other food cooked is jollof rice. In fact, varieties of rice are represented in our home during the sharing of foods by neighbors. Chicken is synonymous with the celebration as many of them are killed during this festive season.
Preparation for Christmas day begins in the eve in most Nigerian homes especially in the South where it is well-celebrated. The people need to have a special treat the next day to commemorate the birth of Jesus so they prepare a special delicacy. Most Nigerians dad won’t eat the lesser foods on Christmas day and is there anything like a lesser food? Well, the food to be eaten must be prepared in a way different from the usual, it must be special and well garnished to stand the test of the season.
What do Nigerians say?
In this regard, Nigerians who are known to be elaborate in their celebrations were asked if there’s an official food for Christmas. Just as the Muslims slaughter ram during the Salah celebrations, it is safe to ask if there’s an official food/meat for Christmas celebration too. People were asked if there’s a special/official food made for Christmas celebration, this is what they have to say:
Personally speaking, there’s no official food for Christmas. As long as man is happy, anything goes.Mr. Tope Ogunlade, Ore
Jollof rice is the official food while some might cook fried rice too.Miss Kiki Joy, Lokoja
Well, the best food take this period is fried rice with chicken and salad.Miss Lola, Lagos
There’s no official food.Aderinsola, Ibadan
People prefer jollof rice and fried rice with chicken.Abiodun Lncoln, Kano
As much as no official food is being declared, people seems to prefer a plate of fried/jollof rice and chicken for the Christmas celebration.
Rice and Chicken as the official Christmas Delicacy
Although what is good for the goose is not good for the gander, many people feel rice and chicken comes on top for the Christmas celebration. Rice and chicken is prepared in many homes and can be served with moi-moi or salad. The rice can be in variety such as jollof (I mean Nigerian jollof huh!), fried rice, coconut rice or white rice.
There is this popular comprehension passage in a Primary school English textbook some years ago. The module has a picture of a boy holding two live chickens while the mother cooked some rice as they were in Christmas mood. This actually points to the fact that rice and chicken is the most common food prepared in homes during the Christmas celebration in this part of the world.
In the southern parts of Nigeria where there is influx of Christians, live chickens are sold in large quantities in the markets at this time of the year. Even if a cow is to be killed by a family to celebrate Christmas, a live chicken’s head must also pass through the knife’s blade. I have seen kids who are unhappy because their parents didn’t kill a chicken during the Christmas celebration; that’s just how special it is to them. As ram is to Salah celebration so is chicken to Christmas.
An unwritten agreement
Although there’s no decree made to make cooking rice and chicken a must on Christmas day, it is just a food many people prefer to prepare. Rice is a popular food worldwide and not only in Nigeria. The variety at which it can be prepared makes it a good option for young and old. A three or four course meal of fried rice, jollof, moi-moi, and salad with chicken is a sumptuous delicacy for the celebration. You may prepare local dishes such as Pounded yam and pawpaw soup, garri and edikang ikong, fufu and ofe nsala, etc. rice and chicken still needs to be prepared for your family and visitors.
The Nigerian border maybe closed now with rice being sold at a very high prices yet, it is still the best option for Christmas celebration. The Nigerian local rice will still be considered by the people this time around. Even when there was an outbreak of bird flu some years ago, chicken seems to stand the test in the market. It will still be a favorite meat for people in this coming Christmas celebration. The combination of this duo prepared very well will definitely make your Christmas one to remember. There’s no better special food for your Christmas than a plate of fried/jollof rice with chicken.
Do share your views/opinions on this topic in the comments section. Thanks for taking the time to read this piece.