The Odessa Record -

Nigerian Christmas a celebration with family

Series: Letter to the Editor | Story 28

December 12, 2019

To the Editor:

Nigerian Christians celebrate Christmas in special ways. If possible, most return to the village of their ancestors, even those living abroad. Beginning early on Christmas Day, goats are brought to slaughter, and then the cooking and feasting begins. Children are all around, and there is a competition among grandmothers as to which “compound” is the noisiest, i.e., has the most people returning for the celebration.

The day is spent attending church, feasting, visiting, discussing and arguing various topics, including politics. Presents are for the children, who are each given a set of new clothes, which are worn joyously around for everyone to see. Enter an American woman (Mama Ude), who thinks children should have toys as Christmas gifts – sharing her own tradition.

She arrives at the village with fanfare, as children run out to glimpse the homemade cake and the toys she (Santa) has brought. One Christmas she brought a bag full of 20-cent rubber balls to share. The children played games with those balls until late in the evening – so happy and pleased to have some cake, a ball, a new outfit and friends and family. What we are grateful for and what makes us happy certainly varies from culture to culture.

Nancy Street (Mama Ude)



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