Despite having been plagued with wars and political crises for decades, The Democratic Republic of Congo still partakes in the magical spirit of Christmas.
While many see Christmas as a celebration that includes lavish gifts and grand feasts, the Congolese keep things a bit more modest.
Gifts are not a big part of Christmas festivities in The Democratic Republic of Congo. In fact, the celebration is more of a religious celebration versus one where people indulge in one another.
Churches throughout the DRC arrange celebrations that are heavily centered around music and plays.
These plays are highly symbolic and showcase Bible stories, including the creation of modern man.
While modest as compared to consumer nations, the celebration is quite grand, as the Congolese show great passion during their performances.
The birth of baby Jesus is revealed as midnight nears, as to fall exactly on the day of His birth.
That means that the play does not end until the early hours on Christmas day and in some cases, do not end until sunrise!
On the day of Christmas, church celebrations start up yet again, only hours after the previous night’s celebration has ended.
The musical displays and festivities continue and finally, everyone heads back to their homes to have a meal.
While many are unable to provide the grand feasts that other countries have come to know and love, the Congolese do try to make a better meal than they’re used to.
These meals often include meat as a main dish, if it is within their means to do so.
Because the Christmas celebration in The Democratic Republic of Congo is practically a two-day event, the rest of Christmas day is very laid-back.
On the 26th, also known as Boxing Day, all of the festivities end and it’s back to life as usual.
In the Lingala language, which is spoken in the DRC and some other African countries, Happy/Merry Christmas is ‘Mbotama Malamu’.
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Main Points About Christmas in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
- For the people in DRC, Christmas is a religious celebration rather than a commercial one. The exchange of gifts is very rare.
- On Christmas eve, the are many church services with carols, performances and nativity plays.
- On Christmas day, families prepare a different meal from their everyday meal. After the Christmas meal, many people spend the rest of the day sleeping, resting from the Christmas eve all-night church service.
- Palm trees and mango trees are sometimes decorated as traditional Christmas trees.
- Christmas meals are often shared outdoors. Neighbors who cannot afford meals are given some. For many orphanages, meals are often their Christmas gift.
Traditionally, everyone will get new clothes to wear to church this day, cooking starts in the early morning and you go to church service at 11.30.
Coming back from church, Christmas lunch is served and Christmas is more of a religious than a commercial time of the year.
Some families buy small chickens or goats well in advance to raise and then eat for Christmas. Nativity plays at church is also popular.
Word Cloud for Christmas in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
The following is a collection of the most used terms in this article on Christmas in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This should help in recalling related terms as used in this article at a later stage for you.
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Chara Yadav holds MBA in Finance. Her goal is to simplify finance-related topics. She has worked in finance for about 25 years. She has held multiple finance and banking classes for business schools and communities. Read more at her bio page.