November goes by quickly and a certain breeze greets us. There is a mad rush in supermarkets and shops as almost everyone tries to do business before everything gets expensive.
Families plan to spend time together and lot’s of travellers return home. Some call it the Yuletide, others call it Christmas. In Ghana, we call it “Bronya”. No matter how you choose to call it, this represents a period of love, happiness and giving.
Ghanaians however do not celebrate Christmas any differently from the rest of the world although there are a few noticeable differences. Christmas in Ghana is fun and relaxing at the same time but there are a few fun facts about the festivities in Ghana. Here are a few fun facts about Christmas in Ghana, as we gradually edge towards the season.
Christmas tree – Have you ever wondered about the significance of a Christmas tree? Why do many people have it in their homes and companies at this time of the year? Now, this may surprise you. One man, Yves Piaget, spent over £10 million (that’s over $13 million US dollars) on decorating his Christmas tree. The tree was lavishly decorated with 83 pieces of jewellery in Tokyo. In Ghana, more than half of the population don’t use a Christmas tree anymore.
The few who do, do not spend much on them. You may find only a few rich and luxury-loving people building giant Christmas trees at home. The bulk of fancy Christmas trees you may find are the ones at hotels and other companies.
Fun fact: 90% of Ghanaians would rather buy chicken than buy a Christmas tree.
Home alone – Probably the most-watched movie at this time of the year. Guess what? The 1990 American comedy film written and produced by John Hughes and directed by Chris Columbus, is more popular in Africa and specifically Ghana than it probably is in many states all over the US.
Why is it so popular? Is it because Ghanaian television stations have run out of content? The first answer may be NO!!! However, from generation to generation, it has become increasingly clear that every child must see ‘’Home Alone’’ at least twice before his/her childhood is over. If you were born in Ghana but have never watched ‘’Home Alone’’, then you didn’t have a television when you were a child.
Fun fact: There is no Christmas in Ghana without ‘’Home Alone’’
Weight Gain – Have you ever heard of the term ‘’obolo’’? This is a popular Ghanaian term used to identify persons with excessive weight or those who have gained an appreciable amount of weight over a short period of time. Funny enough, there are a lot of ‘’obolo’s’’ in Ghana when the new year comes. Need you ask why? Christmas is a period where Ghanaians, just like many others all over the world eat excessively.
Maybe not because they want to, but just because they have to. There is a general abundance of food everywhere and it’s difficult to maintain a 3 meal a day habit. You may end up eating between 4 to 5 times with drinks and snacks in between.
Even if you don’t have the means to eat and your family doesn’t prepare regular meals around this time, there is always that neighbour or friend who will invite you over or visit you with an already set buffet.
Fun fact: One out of every three persons in Ghana will gain weight before the new year.
No funerals – Not your regular fun fact but since funerals are not occasions of joy and they bring so much sorrow and pain, it is fun not to have them at all during this period. Never will you see a funeral being held close to the Christmas period.
NEVER!!! This is a period when everything that connotes sadness, sorrow and pain is put away and far from us. A period when the only thing we care about is love, joy and happiness. A period when nothing else matters but pure joy and appreciation of life. For once, we leave the pain and sorrow behind to concentrate on the good things in life.
Fun fact: This is the only period in the year when Ghanaians do not have funerals
Nearly Everyone becomes a Christian – So you may know that Christmas is a festival of Christians and they form the largest majority of people who celebrate this season worldwide. For many other religions, this period is a time to go on holiday and enjoy the free days off work. However, the festivities have become so widespread that during Christmas, many other religions get involved and enjoy Christmas like it’s one of their own festivals. The world must be a happier place generally at this time because all become one.
You will find the Muslims and the Atheist partying with the Christians as much as the traditionalists cooking and sharing with everyone else.
Fun Fact: Christmas in Ghana is not for Christians, it’s for everyone.
Credit : Bennet Otoo, Jumia Travel