This blog covers the years 2014-2016 when we (the Robisons) were at the Ghana MTC. To see the blog covering the period 2016-2018 click on this link:

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Ghana MTC Missionaries' Traditions At Christmas

What is Christmas like in each of their countries?

DR Congo

Christmas in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is more of a religious festival than being commercial. Most people won't have any presents.
Christmas Eve is very important with Churches having big musical evenings (many churches have at least 5 or 6 choirs) and a nativity play. These plays last a very long time. They start at the beginning of the evening with the creation and the Garden of Eden and end with the story of King Herod killing the baby boys.
People taking part in the play really like to show off their 'best' acting skills and tend to go over the top and 'ham it up'! King Herod and the soldiers are often figures of fun (like pantomime 'baddies') and Mary is often well advanced in labour before she arrives!
The birth of Jesus is timed to happen as close to midnight as possible and after that come the shepherds, the wise men and the slaughter of the innocents. This means the play normally finishes about 1am. However, in some places there will be further singing until dawn! The Christmas day service then starts at 9am with lots more singing.
On Christmas day, most families try to have a better meal than usual. If they can afford it, they will have some meat (normally chicken or pork). The rest of the day is spent quite quietly, maybe sleeping after a busy and late night on Christmas Eve!
People go back to work on the 26th (Boxing Day).
In the Lingala language, which is spoken in the DRC and some other African countries, Happy/Merry Christmas is 'Mbotama Malamu'. (


People in Ghana celebrate Christmas from the 20th of December to the first week in January with lots of different activities. Many people travel to visit their relatives and friends in other parts of the country. Over 66 languages are spoken in Ghana and all these language groups have their own traditions and customs!
December is also the start of the cocoa harvest (the bean that make chocolate) in Ghana. Ghana is the worlds second biggest cocoa producer. I really like some fair-trade chocolate that's made with cocoa from Ghana!
Christmas Eve night is the time when the celebrations really start with Church services that have drumming and dancing. Children often put on a Nativity Play or other drama. Then choirs come out to sing and people come out in front of the priests to dance. Songs are mostly sang in the languages that the people understand best. This makes them feels that God speaks their language. Sometimes these services and dancing go on all night long!
Other people celebrate Christmas Eve with fireworks and parties.
On Christmas day the Churches are very full. People come out dressed in their colorful traditional clothes. After the Church service on Christmas morning, people quickly go back to their houses to start giving and receiving gifts.

Other people celebrate Christmas Eve with fireworks and parties.
On Christmas day the Churches are very full. People come out dressed in their colorful traditional clothes. After the Church service on Christmas morning, people quickly go back to their houses to start giving and receiving gifts.

Christmas in Malawi

The Language most people speak in  Malawi is Chichewa or Tumbuka.
Religion in Malawi? 70% of Malawi is Christian 20% is Muslim and 10% are Tribal Religions.
Weather? December in Malawi is much warmer than in Utah.
How They Celebrate Christmas? Meats are roasted, gifts are presented to each other and families visit each other. Most gifts are hand made like this Christmas angel ornament made in Malawi. Clothing? Women wear colorful dresses a head piece and a blouse if they can afford one.  Most men wear pants and a shirt, but some men wear religious robes/ clothes Foods?
On Christmas day they eat roasted meat, banana bread, sweet potato cookies, peanut puffs and banana fritters.
Traditions? On Christmas day carols are sung in churches and most of the focus is on Jesus' birth. Jesus' birth is mostly celebrated in church. There's also a lot of singing, dancing, and drama.
Presents are given and as far as I know they have no Santa.
Malawi's Flag Fact's About Christmas in Malawi says their Christmas traditions are much like our Christian traditions around the world. Also they celebrate Christmas on December 25 in their calendar, which is probably January 7 for us. Hope You Enjoyed!Moni Wa Chikondwelero Cha X'mas! - That's Merry Christmas in Malawi. - (Written by Caitlyn S. Garner)

Ivory Coast

Christmas Day (December 25) is celebrated by local Christians with all-night church services that start on Christmas Eve (December 24) and end at 6:00 a.m. During worship, you can expect singing, group dancing, poetry recitation, skits, testimonies, prayers, and a sermon. Ivoirian Christians do not exchange gifts on Christmas, they wait until the new year to signal good prosperity. (


Christmas in Nigeria is a family event, a time when lots of family members come together to celebrate and have fun. Most families, that live in cities, travel to the villages where their grandparents and older relatives live.
Many different languages are spoken in Nigeria. In Hausa Happy/Merry Christmas is 'barka dà Kirsìmatì'; in Yoruba it's 'E ku odun, e ku iye'dun'; in Fulani it's 'Jabbama be salla Kirismati'; in Igbo (Ibo) 'E keresimesi Oma'; in Ibibio 'Idara ukapade isua' and it's Edo it's 'Iselogbe'.

Many families will throw Christmas parties that will last all night long on Christmas Eve! Then, on Christmas Morning, they go to church to give thanks to God. Homes and streets are often decorated. Most homes will have an artificial tree.
Children love to play with firecrackers at Christmas. The church choir may visit the church congregation in their homes to sing Christmas carols to them. Christmas cards are sent to friends and family members.  Presents are exchanged amongst family members and some families may take their children dressed in new outfits to see Santa.
In addition to serving turkey, a traditional Christmas meal in Nigeria may include beef, goat, sheep, ram or chicken. Other dishes might included pounded yam, jollof rice, fried rice, vegetable salad and some type of stew. (


The people of Madagascar normally attend church services on the eve of Christmas. It is also quite common to witness hundreds going to church on Christmas Day. Most sermons are centered around the birth of Jesus Christ and how he impacted the lives of human beings across the world.
Members of individual families normally reunite during this period and engage in different activities to help foster their bond. It is common for family members to eat different meals together while catching up on how each one's year had been. On Christmas Day, the people of Madagascar exchange presents to show each other just how much they care for each other.
Different people from different communities also pay visits to the elderly and spend time with them. During this time, elders are known to pass their knowledge and share in some words of wisdom. The Malagasy also pay visits to those in hospitals, prisons and orphanages in order to share their time and some material support. (

South Africa

Because South Africa is in the Southern Hemisphere, Christmas comes in the summer. So there's lots of sun and beautiful flowers in full bloom.
The schools are closed for the Christmas holidays and some people like to go camping. Going caroling, on Christmas Eve, is very popular in towns and cities. Carols by Candlelight services are also popular on Christmas Eve. And many people go to a Christmas morning Church Service.
Traditional 'fir' Christmas trees are popular and children leave a stocking out for Santa Claus on Christmas Eve.
The Christmas meal is either turkey (or duck), roast beef, mince pies or suckling pig with yellow rice & raisins and vegetables, followed by Christmas Pudding or a traditional South African desert called Malva Pudding. People also like to pull Christmas Crackers! The meal is often eaten outside in the summer sun! If it's really hot they might even have a barbecue or 'braai'.
outh Africa also has several other UK Christmas traditions, because of its history with the UK.
On Christmas day afternoon, people visit family and friends or might go for a trip into the country side to play games or have a swim. (

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