Originally, Christmas is a Christian celebration to mark the birth of Jesus Christ – the patriarch of the Christian faith. It is celebrated on 25th December and festivities often go into the next day which is referred to as Boxing Day and is also a general public holiday.
In Africa as in many parts of the world, Christmas is becoming a secular holiday as it comes with a certain fever too strong to ignore. There is a popular saying that makes it feel like Christmas literally smells in the air. Well, it does.
One other reason that has made the Christmas celebrations so dominant among other celebrations is the fact that it breaks into the New Year celebrations with just a week separating both celebrations. This means that people can plan their vacations and holidays to accommodate both celebrations.
Many countries in the world look forward to the Christmas celebrations yearly, but these three African countries canceled Christmas in the past for one reason or the other.Check them out:
There was no Christmas and New Year Celebrations in every part of this West African country in 2014, except in its capital, Conakry.
This was as a result of the Ebola outbreak in the country at that time.
The government released a statement saying:
“Large-scale gatherings in public places are suspended for the moment - all gatherings in markets, bus stations, ferry landing stages, hospitals and the airport.”
The governor of Conakry - the only state where Christmas was celebrated, placed a ban on fireworks and closed all beaches in the country’s capital.
2. Sierra Leone
Also in 2014, there were no Christmas celebrations in Sierra Leone which was also battling the Ebola Outbreak at that time.
The country was in a state of emergency after it overtook Liberia to be named the country most affected with the deadly virus.
Soldiers were deployed to the streets to ensure no one engaged in any festivities.
In a statement by Palo Conteh, the country’s Defense minister and then head of its Ebola response team, he said:
“There will be no Christmas and New Year celebrations this year.
“We will ensure that everybody remains at home to reflect on Ebola. Military personnel will be on the streets at Christmas and the New Year to stop any street celebrations.”
There was no Christmas celebration in Somalia in 2015 and it wasn’t as a result of Ebola or any other outbreak.
That year, the government canceled the celebrations because according to it, the celebration had “nothing to do with Islam.”
Sheikh Mohamed Kheyrow, the director of Somalia’s ministry of religion, through a state radio broadcast said:
“We warn against celebration of Christmas, which is only for Christians and its drum beatings have nothing to with Islam.”
The government went as far as directing the police and other security agencies in the country to stop any form of Christmas celebrations.
Header Image: Afro Tourism