CHRISTMAS IS HERE AGAIN!
Christmas is here again! A time to listen to the wonderful Christmas songs, visit Santa Claus, exchange gifts with friends, loved ones, and families. Christmas is my best season of the year apart from Valentine’s Day of course. Christmas is celebrated in different ways around the world, differing across countries and religious beliefs. For the Christians it signifies the birth of the saviour of the world- Jesus, while others see it as a time to exchange gifts, give to the less privileged in the society, love feasts, meeting families, partying and listening to cool Christmas songs.
For me Christmas is very amazing. My happy mode was activated on the first day of December as I count down in earnest. Oh! Did I hear someone ask why? It is a time for me to enjoy the traditional Finnish Kinkku once again! It is quite different from my culture were pork meat is not regarded as a festive meat on such a great season.
Christmas is celebrated throughout the African continent mainly among Christian communities. It is a huge event but also an extensive holiday season when families and friends reunite to share different things together, including presents, meals and drinks. In particular, Christmas has become an integral part of the Nigerian culture. The whole of Nigeria is illuminated with assorted lights and colourful decorations during this festive season.
It is generally a season when Nigerian people spend their holiday, which enables them to travel to their respective villages and towns to meet their loved ones. According to the Nigerian culture, gifts and presents are exchanged during this time. Christmas Carols are sang and apart from this, families usually rush to the market weeks ahead of Christmas in order to buy assorted live animals that may include chicken, turkey, goat or in some cases cow as meat source. The meat is required for the preparation of different delicacies. Typically, these food types are presented at the table on Christmas day and children have free access according to their taste and satisfaction. For adults however, food is served with assorted alcoholic drinks that include the traditional palm-wine, local brands and imported beers, and wines.
It is the tradition to serve the children with non-alcoholic soft drinks such as cola. In addition, all kinds of assorted drinks are stocked ahead of Christmas. Ladies but also children put on new hair styles to match their brand new outfits that typically, are worn to the thanksgiving service in various churches. Indeed, Christmas is a huge annual event in Nigeria.
However, my experience in Finland, especially during this Christmas season has been thus far different in a pleasant way and unique. The Christmas kicked off for me a few weeks ago, when I joined my awesome colleagues at the International Affairs office of Karelia University of Applied Sciences to decorate our Christmas tree and stairways. I was amazed at how much of a fun-exercise it was ensuring that each ornament matched and was placed just right to ensure a perfect balance. Frankly speaking, it was a perfect way to set the right mood for the holiday season, which I intend to celebrate the Finnish way.
Well the only African aspect of the season that I still intend to keep is my extended holiday. A fun-filled getaway in the company of loved ones and friends is already in the works. Having learnt how to prepare some Finnish delicacies it is high time I spoilt my loved ones with some Karelian stew, ham, potato casserole, home bread and some Glögi. I cannot wait to try out my new cooking skills this lovely season.
I wish you all a Merry Christmas!
By Racheal Agbo