The Coptic Church is an Orthodox Church and in the Coptic Church
Christmas is celebrated on the 7th December. Advent is observed for
forty days and during this period people are expected to fast eating no
meat, poultry or dairy products. Some people only do this during the
last week of Advent.
On the Eve of Christmas everyone goes to church wearing a completely
new outfit. The Christmas service ends at midnight with the ringing of
church bells, then people go home to eat a special Christmas meal known
as fata, which consists of bread, rice, garlic and boiled meat.
On Christmas morning people in Egypt and other parts of the Middle
East, visit friends and neighbors. They take with them kaik which is a
type of shortbread, which they take with them to give to the people they
visit and eaten with a drink known as shortbat. Christmas Day is a
public holiday for Christians.
Zimbabwe is situated in the southern part of Africa, between South
Africa and Zambia.
Fellowship is a big part of Christmas Day in Zimbabwe. Since the
country is located south of the equator, Kisimusi, or
Christmas is celebrated December 25, during the broiling hot summer.
Starting weeks in advance, everyone starts to gather loaves of bread,
jam, tea, and sugar for the Christmas dinner.
On Christmas Eve, a fir tree is placed in the main room and decorated
with colorful ornaments, mostly hand crafted. Gifts are then placed
under the tree and a member of the family, one of the elders, is
selected to be the “Santa” for the gift distribution on Christmas
Day. Fathers give gifts to their children and wives, usually consisting
of clothes and candy.
At the early morning church service on December 25th, the children,
dressed in their best clothes, sing the songs that they have practiced
for this special day.
Sometimes a feast is held for the members of the church. This meal is
served at one home. The women take turns preparing the food so that they
all have a chance to attend the service. It can consist of fresh roast
ox or goat, cornmeal porridge, bread, jam, tea, and sugar. After the
dinner, they all sit, relax, and sing gospel songs. The minister may
even give an informal sermon to try to win more souls to Christ.
In many homes, members of the family gather from all over and the
women prepare a huge afternoon Christmas feast. At noon, all gather
around in the living room where prayers are recited and speeches are
given. Then, “Santa” distributes the gifts under the tree and reads
out messages for each person. When the meal is served, everyone sits at
one huge table. Afterward, the children play while the adults relax,
listen to music, and sometimes visit a neighbor to wish them joy.
There is a big difference in what people in the villages can afford
for gifts and a Christmas dinner compared to the people who live in more
As the sun goes down in the villages, herd boys return to their
flocks and children play games around the fire. After the sun sinks in
the west, Christmas is officially over.
Kenya is located in eastern Africa, bordering the Indian Ocean,
between Somalia and Tanzania. Its other neighbors include the Sudan,
Tanzania, and Ethiopia.
In Kenya, the churches
are decorated with balloons, ribbons, flowers and green plants as well
as Christmas trees. Missionary organizations provide special Christmas
dinners in slum areas and at orphanages. In larger cities such as
Nairobi, the commercial aspect of the season is making inroads. There
you will find Father Christmas and his elves who are depicted by
children from the area.
Often a group will go singing house to house, usually on Christmas
eve in urban areas. The occupants of each house will give a gift of some
kind (often money) to the singers, then on Christmas Day, the singers
will present whatever was given to the church they attend.
It's customary to attend church on Christmas morning and everyone,
especially the children, wears new clothes for the occasion.
Christmas, markets such as the one on Jogo Road in Nairobi are filled
with people buying and selling chickens, goat, pigs and various other
foodstuffs for th holidays.
Christmas dinner is often a barbecue with family members traveling
from far away to be together again. In addition, neighbors drop in for a
visit on Christmas day to sample the Christmas fare. A great deal of
food is prepared including nyama choma, roasted meat,
usually goat or beef and sometimes chicken. In addition there will be chapati,
a fresh baked African flat bread. People living in the cities will also
have a special Christmas cake; a treat that is not available in the