Ghanaians celebrate Christmas with a variety of activities from the 20th of December through the first week of January. Many people travel to visit relatives and friends in other parts of the country. Ghana has over 66 languages spoken, each with its own set of traditions and customs.
December also marks the start of the cocoa harvest in Ghana (the bean used to make chocolate). Ghana is the world’s second largest cocoa producer.
The real celebrations begin on Christmas Eve night, with church services that include drumming and dancing. A Nativity Play or another type of drama is frequently performed by children. Then choirs start singing and people start dancing in front of the priests. The majority of songs are sung in languages that the majority of the population understands. This is important. This gives them the impression that God speaks their language. These services and dancing can sometimes last all night!
Other people celebrate Christmas Eve with fireworks and parties.
On Christmas Day, churches are extremely crowded. People dress up in their traditional colorful attire. People rush back to their homes after the Christmas morning church service to begin giving and receiving gifts.
Traditional foods include stew or okra soup, porridge and meats, rice, and ‘fufu,’ a yam paste. During the Christmas season, children’s parties, end-of-year employee parties, and so on are mostly held in hotels, on beaches, in school parks, and in community centers, with good wishes for everyone on the planet.
On December 31st, some Ghanaians attend church to thank God for sending Jesus and to pray for a prosperous and safe New Year. People may also use this time to remember those who died in the previous year and to pray that any difficulties they encountered in the previous year are resolved and do not continue into the New Year.
For those who have already come to Ghana for these festivities, be sure to have these experiences and share with us your most precious moments.