Spending your first Christmas in Ghana is an experience unlike any other. Aside from it being summertime, you might notice that the holiday's traditions are a little bit different because of the country's unique and vibrant culture.
In Ghana, Harmattan marks the arrival of "Christmas." A few indications of Harmattan’s presence include cracked lips and dry skin. The air is filled with dust and bright lights, and the dry breezes cause the nose and skin to feel chilly. Remember to stock up on skincare supplies like Shea Butter if you are visiting Ghana because this only occurs over Christmas.
People in Ghana frequently address one another with the phrase "Afehyia Pa" during the holiday season. This translates to "Merry Christmas and Happy New Year".
According to a 2021 census, Christianity is the most popular religion in Ghana, where more than 70% of the population belongs to a Christian denomination. On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you will find the local kids run about yelling "Egbona hee, egogo vo," which translates to "Christ is coming, he is near."
If you find yourself in the region of Ghana during the month of December, know that the country celebrates Christmas from December 20 until the first week of January. Furthermore, the end-of-year cocoa harvest in Ghana falls on the same day as this religious festival, adding to the festive mood here. It is a great place to spend Christmas with your partner or family.
Ghana's capital, Accra, has the biggest Christmas events in the country. However, you'll also find other places in Ghana like Cape Coast, Kumasi, Tamale, and Ashaiman, to spend your Christmas.
The main celebrations begin on Christmas Eve night with church services that feature dancing, a live band, and a repertoire of family-friendly activities. Children frequently perform dramas or nativities. Then people start to dance and choirs start to sing in front of the priests. With more than 66 different languages being spoken here, you're sure to hear both familiar carols and unfamiliar tunes when you visit Ghana. These rituals and the dance might sometimes last all night.
Locals dress up in vibrant traditional attire for the Christmas Day church service. If you want to join in, you can buy a traditional Ghanaian dress or shirt at the local stores and malls. Lighting firecrackers (also known as "knockouts") occur after celebrations and gift exchanging. Parents and guardians buy firecrackers for their children to set off on Christmas night. They compete to see whose firecracker goes up the highest and lights the sky the most as they joyfully light them up.
Ghanaians traditionally share gifts throughout December, with the highest amount being given out on January 1. They give gifts to loved ones, clergy, coworkers, children, and family members. Young children then get presents like candies, biscuits, or new clothes, before returning home for a joyful family feast.
Fresh Christmas trees are ubiquitous in many countries, however, they may not be found in households in Ghana since they are not climate-appropriate. You will find artificial trees adorned in homes, shopping malls, and hotel lobbies. Christmas in Ghana is quite colourful and decorated. The neighbourhood's school children occasionally decorate a Christmas tree in the town square with paper decorations.
Children all throughout the world are familiar with Father Christmas. His lengthy white beard and cherry-red suit are typically his defining features, but not in Ghana. Children in Ghana associate Father Christmas, also known as Papa Bronya, with a man dressed in sandals and a stunning red robe with gold trim. A white cloak with a hood and a sash with a classic pattern completes his attire. Instead of toys, Ghanaian children often receive treats to eat.
If you inquire locally about Santa, people would likely direct you to the West Mamprusi District in Ghana's Northern Region. Yes, Ghana does have a place called Santa. There, farmers make up most of the population.
Throughout the two-week festivities in December, friends and neighbours frequently extend invitations to one another to join them in celebration. During this time it's typical to consume four to five meals each day in addition to snacks. People tend to gain some extra weight during the Christmas period, and in Ghana, there is a special term for this. Being an "obolo," is a phrase used to describe someone who acquires weight quickly. It is so easy to become one when there is so much additional food available.
Each country has their own special menu for Christmas. A typical Christmas dinner consists of a turkey with stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, and veggies. There are also other types of chicken, roast beef, and ham you may enjoy. Dessert favourites include fruitcake, pumpkin or apple pie, raisin pudding, Christmas pudding, and fruitcake.
The traditional Ghanaian Christmas spread includes dishes made of rice, chicken, goat, lamb, fufu and other Ghanaian staples. A starchy side dish called fufu is frequently produced by combining and pounding powdered green plantains, which are a fruit very similar to bananas, with the potato-like vegetable cassava.
On December 31st, some Ghanaians also visit churches to express gratitude to God and to ask for a prosperous and secure new year. Additionally, people may use that time to pray for a resolution to any problems they may have had throughout the year and to remember those who passed away during the previous year. Others are fond of attending parties at bars, clubs, and even special events.
Christmas is the ideal time to take a well-earned vacation in Ghana. If you need help finding the perfect holiday home in Ghana, contact us today. We at Akka Kappa wish you a happy holiday season that is filled with all the blessings and joy that this time of year provides.