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5 Christmas Traditions from the African Continent

December 18, 2018


Interesting holiday traditions from Africa

The Bed King team is getting ready to celebrate the festive season in style in sunny South Africa. As a proudly South African company, we have our roots on the African continent, and we’ve always been fascinated by the many colourful traditions and Christmas-related heritage events that are celebrated by our fellow countrymen and those of other cultures throughout Africa.

Here are a few of the interesting African Christmas traditions we’ve encountered over the years:

Egyptians Enjoy Fatta

According to the Egyptian Orthodox Christian calendar, Christmas is celebrated on the 7th of January after a 43-day-long fast, during which they refrain from consuming meat, fish, milk and eggs. After the church service on the 7th, these families enjoy a communal meal called 'fatta' which consists of meat and rice, and take the day to visit friends and neighbours.

Ethiopians Don Their Shamma

Ethiopians also celebrate Christmas on the 7th of January, on a day that they call 'Ganna'. It starts with a day of fasting, which is then followed by a church service and a family feast. On this day, Ethiopians don white cotton clothes called 'shamma', with colourful stripes at the end.

Ghana Honours Its Midwives

According to the folk tales of Ghana, a midwife called Anna assisted in the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem and was instrumental in saving his life from King Herod. As such, besides the other Christmas stories that are told and honoured, the Ghanaians celebrate their midwives at Christmas and the story of Anna is told countrywide.

Nigerians Perform Ekon

Nigerians are known for their traditional 'Ekon' play. Groups go round from home to home carrying a doll and performing a play that symbolises the birth of Christ. Each household offers gifs to the 'baby' before it moves along to the next. Nigerians also decorate their homes and churches with palm fronds at Christmas, to symbolise peace and harmony.

South Africans Like To Braai

In the Southern hemisphere, the Christmas holidays are celebrated in the heat of summer. As such, we tend to swop skiing and snow for sea, surf and barbeque. While many South African families enjoy a traditional Christmas feast with turkey, duck, roast beef, mince pies or suckling pig, there are others who keep it casual around the ‘braai’ (barbeque fire) and swimming pool.

Are you getting ready to enjoy a restful festive season with your family and friends? Remember to take some time to relax and unwind amidst all the celebrations and revelry. Keep an eye on the blog in the new year for more helpful advice on getting quality sleep so you may tackle 2019 with verve and determination. Or better yet - visit us in store! Our branches countrywide now feature the revolutionary Comfort Solutions Lab®, an exciting new system that assesses your body’s unique pressure points and recommends the comfort-graded mattress best suited to your needs.


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