Christmas in a typical Ghanaian home is when families buy sacks of rice, bottles of non-alcoholic drinks, a special type of biscuit which is sold only during the Christmas season known as piccadilly and raw chicken or chevon or mutton.
The raw rice and chicken are used to prepare the popular orange-coloured rice known as jollof with fried chicken which gets the Ghanaian child excited. Top that up with a bottle of non-alcoholic drink and that child will be your friend forever.
Another meal that is served in most homes during this season is pounded cassava or fufu with soup and chicken or chevon or mutton. Typically, this is what makes the season great for most Ghanaians but there are other ways that the season is celebrated. Here is a quick look at what characterizes the period:
Visiting Folks in the Rural Areas
In Ghana, it has been estimated that 51.9% of the population live in the urban areas this is caused by rural-urban migration. Most of these people move to the city in search of employment opportunities, however during the Christmas season, these people go back to the rural areas to visit relatives.
These visits are helpful because they increase the revenue generation in the rural areas since most of these returnees go and spend the money they have earned. Compared to other times of the year the rural area is characterized by a rather low population level but the Christmas season brings excitement to these areas.
Most of the visitors take advantage of the cheaper cost of food items and shop when they visit the rural area. For example in Accra, a live goat costs about 150 cedis whereas in the rural area, that same goat costs as low as 30 cedis. Apart from the food, accommodation is quite cheap as compared to what is charged in the urban areas.
Attending Events and Parties
Parties are normally organized at end the year by most companies. These parties precede a two-week break for the workers. Event organizers take advantage of the break to pile all programmes to the Christmas and new year period. There are several events that take place including musical shows and concerts, theatre and others. Depending of the amount of money that one has, they can attend one or more of these events.
Also, families take advantage of the break to organize barbecues, where they roast goats and pigs. A lot of families anticipate visits from other relatives and loved ones so they ensure their homes are spic and span. Do not be surprised if you are presented with a bottle of non-alcoholic drink and some pastries when you visit people during this season. That is the Ghanaian way of showing love during the Christmas season.
Spending Time with the Family at Home
A section of Ghanaians stay at home because of one reason or another. Finances could be one of the reasons some people would like to stay at home during the festive season. One can never be bored when he/she stays at home because most of the television stations show very interesting programmes.
Christmas means spending time with nuclear family particularly for those who have been busy all year. Some families organise gatherings to bring together members of the extended family to assess the year as well as plan for the months ahead.
Visiting the Beaches
Ghanaians love their beaches. The Christmas holidays are spent by a number of people by the shore. Most of the beaches get crowded on the 25th and 26th of December and on 1st January (New Year). Ghanaians are not necessarily swimmers but the shores of the beach serve as picnic grounds for them. People also go horseback riding when they visit the beaches. At the beaches, there are acrobatic displays and dances and people just love to be on the sandy shores. There are other interesting places to visit but most Ghanaians love to spend time with family and friends on the sandy shores.
Christmas is not the same for a Ghanaian without attending church services. This is not shocking because about 71.2 % of the population are Christians. Churches take opportunity of the holiday season to organize retreats and special prayer services for members. Children are exceptionally excited during this season because they get to wear new clothes, shoes and watches to church.
If you know of other interesting ways that Ghanaians celebrate Christmas, do share with us.