Celebrating Christmas in South Africa – My Guest Post for A Little Inspiration – Thanks Angie for the invitation to do a guest post for your blog! To see my post visit A Little Inspiration – click here…
Celebrating Christmas in South Africa
In South Africa we celebrate Christmas in a rather traditional manner, similar to the United Kingdom or Europe – the major difference being the weather!
I love all aspects of Christmas including tree decorating, shopping, wrapping of gifts and the scrumptious meals; it all forms an important part of this rather special time of year!
Festivities become apparent from the end of November as many companies begin to wind down and schools close for the summer holidays. Shop windows are adorned with Christmas décor, Christmas carols are played in-store and the Christmas gifting displays begin to make their appearance. Christmas displays seem to appear in stores earlier and earlier every year!
In our home the festive season is officially on its way when we put our Christmas tree up, which happen fairly early this year, in early December. My girls had the job of adorning it with all the beautiful Christmas decorations, which we have collected over the past 15 years – since we got married! Our family tradition is to buy each of our girls a new decoration each year to build on our collection.
Another big festive tradition in Cape Town is the switching on of the Christmas lights in Adderly street, which is in the centre of town. This is South Africa’s biggest free open-air event, the City of Cape Town’s annual switching on of the festive lights, which this year was held on Sunday, 4 December. The City’s Executive Mayor, Alderman Patricia de Lille, kicks off the summer Festive Season with the official switch on; this event usually draws a crowd of over 80 000 people. A range of entertainment is available, including a carnival parade with floats, live performances and appearances by some of the leading television and radio personalities from Cape Town and South Africa.
Our main Christmas celebration takes place on Christmas Eve when our extended family gathers to enjoy a special dinner together. We begin the evening by snacking on canapés and toasting with champagne – followed by the exchange of gifts. Although the weather in South Africa is hot at this time of the year we still enjoy a traditional Christmas dinner, with roast turkey and gammon with all the trimmings, followed by a Christmas pudding (reminiscent of the British colonial tradition). To make things even more festive we usually insist on all members of the family donning a colourful paper hat that is usually found in the Christmas crackers, which are pulled before dinner.
On Christmas day many people head off to church in the morning to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas, the birth of Christ, and sing carols. Our immediate family exchange gifts early morning; the girls are usually so excited and get us out of bed super early!
We usually enjoy a family Christmas Day lunch, which may involve a cold version of dinner, with gammon, turkey and vegetables or salad. Many families however prefer to have a braai (South African word for barbeque) and celebrate in a less traditional manner.
All in all Christmas is a rather significant occasion in South Africa, eagerly anticipated by many and which is celebrated by a large part of the greater community throughout the country. It is a time of the year that people put aside their differences and come together to celebrate this special event. I hope you have enjoyed my feature on Christmas in South Africa!
Wishing all a very Merry Christmas and a festive New Years!