The Season Of Seasonal Feasts And Festivals In Nigeria!

The holiday season in Nigeria is always an annually repeated scenario of feasts and festivals, a season of celebration for all beliefs irrespective of religious faith within a community. The season when most Nigerians find the route back to their root from wherever they might be, going to and fro cities to villages and villages to cities. It is the season when family re-unions are happily embrace to recall moments spent away from families and friends with fond memories, the season when all family ties are re-united back together again as one big family to celebrate the Christmas with feastings and festivals irrespective of individuals beliefs; a time when good things and all things happens, when little kids are ecstatic and the older ones nostalgic. It is the season for the extended families, close relatives and blood relations to meet up for the annual family and community meetings. It is the season for the long awaited unions of love birds to be wedded and new found love to be engaged. It is the season of reconciliation in order to cancel the wrongs of the past, to forgive and forget inflicted pains and punishments. It is the time to bury the anger, enmity and fights while burying the dead; never forgetting those buried long ago, celebrating in memorial the remembrance of the departed souls of love ones.

The end of year holiday season in Nigeria is a time many Nigerians travel back home to their villages while the families that can not afford to travel due to financial constraints or hitherto security concerns remain back to celebrate with well-wishers in order to enjoy the spirit of the holiday season with exciting fun. Traditionally in Nigeria, Christmas is not reserve for the Christians alone, it is regarded as an all families and communities gathering in order to rejoice with friends and families despite the religion differences; even though the Christmas season is considered the special seasons for the Christian faith. A lot of cultural feasts and festivals are scheduled into the holiday season because it is the time of year many take on their annual leave, and holidays to rest for the year which involves various cultural rites and rituals, thanksgivings to give thanks for the years blessings and various other activities that are specifically unique for the end of year holiday seasons. The end of year holiday season are regarded by many Nigerians as a time to shop and show off how fashionable they are, hence the shopping for new wears, cars, furniture, foodstuffs and gift hampers. The holiday seasons are a beautiful time for friends, families, office colleagues to share fancy cards that are handcrafted or themed with awesome designs reflecting on the holiday seasons despite the fact that internet has taken the most shine out of Christmas and seasons greetings card with beautiful messages being exchanged within seconds between millions of people worldwide.

A time to wish everyone living everywhere a Happy or Merry Christmas, when translated is Barka Da Kirsimati In Hausa, Eku Odun, Eku Iye’dun Keresimesi In Yoruba, while it is Ekeresimesi Oma In Igbo tribes of Nigeria. An awesome reminder that the yuletide is around is the bright and beautiful Christmas and New Year decorations of the stringed Christmas lights, draped over the evergreen and gorgeous Christmas trees that sparkles and shine it’s light elaborately over office buildings, shopping malls and homes, while in most public buildings such as the banking halls and shopping malls Christmas carols plays on soothingly somewhere in the background to put shoppers in the mood for seasonal giving and sharing by buying more Christmas goodies on display.

It is seen as a time for all Nigerians to go all out not sparing any expenses to impress, attired in designer wears either tailor-made or ready made, irrespective of religion, tribe, social and financial status, dressings up and dressing out to outshine others, is seen as a status symbol of wealth; the “I’ve made it and I’ve arrive” statement, not leaving out the non-Christians either, who to them it is a must to be beautifully and gorgeously dress when visiting friends and families to celebrate the Christmas. The kids are the most important members of the family who must first be taken care of by providing them at least a pair or several pairs of new Christmas clothing along with new shoes in order for them not to be left out of the excitement and fun during the Holiday season but for those who can not afford new cloth for their kids then must choice among the best of the wears for Christmas celebration.

The fireworks and bonfires lights up the nights and sparkles in the skies; firecrackers, bangers or knockouts are a part and parcel of the holiday season especially the eves of Christmas and the new year. The fireworks starts going off in sparks long before the Christmas day with the naughty little kids playing pranks on the aged by throwing up the firecrackers in places and moments least expected while others go for the D.I.Y. crafted gun using the matches as gunpowder to strike and shot a loud gun-like sounds that scares not only the elderly but others caught off guard, with the unexpected rush of adrenalin due to the insecurities bedeviling most communities in Nigeria but despite the ban on the use of firecrackers the kids are not relenting in their quest for funny and exciting escapades irrespective of the several warnings and threats by community leaders.

The traditional Christmas goat meats, snacks of the Nigerian chin-chin, fruit cakes, finger chops, barbecue stick meats, locally brewed alcoholic beverages, cultural drinks and most importantly rice dishes must be prepared and presented to visiting guests oftentimes shared out to close friends, families and neighbors. It is a tradition to entertain all visiting guests on the Christmas day with assorted cultural cuisines of rice dishes, such as rice and stews, Jollof rice, fried rice, popular chinchin snacks and cakes, with varieties of side dishes consisting of coleslaw, carbonated drinks, local beverages zobo drinks, millet and rice kunu, are also shared and served among visiting guests. The holiday seasons will never be complete without visitation to various recreational centers, parks and game reserves to see live animals and to watch live musical concerts, fashion shows, games, cultural dancers and dancing competition.

Christmas Nigeria Africa
Christmas Nigeria Africa

The Evergreen Christmas Tree
The Christmas tree tradition originated from Germany in the 16th century; all across the world an evergreen plant and trees has, since ancient times believed to ward off evil spirits, witches, ghost, illnesses and cure diseases; that is why plants and trees in traditional medicine are more potent in curing the hidden and unhidden problems both in the physical and spiritual realm. Christmas tree are trimmed or made out of the fir, pine, or spruce tree; traditionally decorated with fruits, nuts or sweets, candies, popcorns, snacks and cookies. As the years pass traditional decoration are replaced with bright colors of light bulbs that glows on it with the invention of electricity; with changing times Christmas trees comes in different designs made of woods carvings, iron and plastic which is often adorned with decorations of choice, hidden gift boxes all around it while still upholding the tradition of the ancient Christmas trees. All around the Christmas tree are beautiful bright light bulbs, tinsel and baubles, with ivy, candles, beautifully placed are holly all around the decorated Christmas homes and on the door is hung a wreaths or mistletoe. The tip of the Christmas trees is daintily placed symbolic Star or Angel. In Nigeria Christmas tree are placed in big shopping complex, banks, offices, recreational centers and public institutions such as hospitals to light up the faces of patients and doctors who must often spent the season in hospitals. Christmas tree is a cherished Christian traditions believed to bring life into the homes of any one with the evergreen Christmas tree, it can be the freshly cut pine tree potted and decorated or the artificial replica of the natural pine tree which is believed by many Christian faithful to bring the holy spirits of the Christmas season into homes, public buildings and the streets the yuletide. The Christmas tree to the Christians symbolize eternal life through the birth of Jesus Christ, death and resurrection seen as a supreme gift by God to the world which also reminds the Christians of the tree of life in the Book of Genesis {2:9}. The Christmas tree decorations of colorful lights, glitters and glows represents love and the gift of life everlasting, with a symbolic angel who announced the births of baby Jesus, and a sparkling star ornament which symbolizes the star of Bethlehem representing the birth, kingship and a new dawn for greatness, at the tip of the Christmas tree. All around and under the Christmas tree are hidden Christmas gifts believed to be from Santa Claus popularly called “father Christmas” in Nigeria which are to be un-wrapped on boxing day.

Santa Claus Or Father Christmas In Nigeria
The bag of gift and goodies by Father Christmas is part of the celebration of Christmas; in Nigeria many companies are seen engaged in the secret Santa activities with their branded products beautifully packaged during the events, with invites given out to their most loyal customers to be gifted the branded Santa goodies, as a thank you for doing business with them. While other organizations are seen making money and promoting their branded products for the public through the father Christmas giveaway upon the payment of a token fee before meeting and receiving a wrap-up gift items from father Christmas.

Christmas Hampers
Christmas hampers are part of the tradition of Christmas Celebration in Nigeria; a collection of handpicked items in a cute hand-woven baskets. Beautifully tied up with ribbons of the Christmas colors, a personalized gift tag and recipients name along with a sweet handwritten notes to seal up the gift basket. All add up to a thoughtful and personal gift because of putting together the best and favorite items of the recipient. Items can be a collection of do-it-yourself made up of foodstuffs or handcrafts; while others go for the store packaged hampers, the holiday is all about the magic of Christmas in giving, sharing and caring.

Seasons Of High Cost Of Goods And Transportations
The holiday season is heralded and characterized by issues of persistently rising inflation which is further depleting the purchasing power and the overall living standards of Nigerians while also increasing the costs of the people of Nigeria livelihoods. Annually during the holiday season in December, prices of the necessities of life increases not just due to the activities of the festivities but due mainly to a one traffic when compared to other “normal” seasons when the traffic is both ways for the drivers thereby cutting down and making up for the empty passengers trips made both ways, but to make up for the vacuum created by the return trip of empty seats, prices are then inflated to justify it further most drivers on holiday trips attributes the inflated prices of transportation to the increased pump price of petrol and aviation fuel. Covid-19 has also brought in a lot of difficulties into the lives of Nigerians, inducing currency devaluation and dollar scarcity which also contributed to the higher purchase rates of vehicles and vehicle spare parts which are usually imported that also affected the movement of Nigerians for the yuletide annual trips to their various holiday destinations, due to increases in transportation fees, consequently reduced transportation activities. There is always a rush and heavy traffic of commuters to the southern regions of Nigeria during yuletide season and the same occurs during Sallah Celebrations for the Muslims in the northern regions of the country.
Nigerians experience fuel scarcity and fuel price hikes around the holiday seasons which always have a serious ravaging implications on Nigerians due to hoarding of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) for greed that ultimately drive up transport cost and inflate prices of food items and other essentials of daily living, consequently hindering the travel plans and provisions of most Nigerians to experience and enjoy the once in a year expected reunions of friends & families. In order to combat, this seasonal trend in transportation it is necessary to seek other alternatives such as gas, hyper-electric & solar energy sources to substitute for the dominant fuel of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) which is a much better sustainable alternative.
The Christmas season is a time when Christmas necessities falls down to simple essentials only, a time when Christmas shoppers are out for early shopping, combing the various markets in search of much more needed items to make the festive season a joyous and memorable one with feasting for families and friends. All across the main markets in most regions Christmas shoppers are seen trying to make the best out of a bad economic situation in order to get a good bargain and value for their money and also to beat the seasonal inflation when the few income are chasing few and scarce commodities that was caused by hoarding to create artificial scarcity and high costs of foodstuffs that’s also affecting their profit margin and the quality of sales a lot of traders in the market easily blame the cost of transporting the goods from the farms which are generally located in rural areas far away from the centers. Hence the prices with each passing day to the Christmas day on most food items will also go higher up to the Christmas and into the new year. Christmas for many families will be low key generally for many families the new year comes in with its own expenses of kids school fees, house rent, stocking the households with essential and other expenses that may crop up before the next income after expending all savings during the yuletide. A lot of Nigerians are so dejected due to prevailing issues surrounding every aspect of life in Nigeria and the once in a year holiday season to rejoice and enjoy.
The increases in prices of foodstuffs by the day may cause a lot of hardships and frustration for many Nigerians. A lot of factors are responsible for price hikes by market traders such as the effects of Covid-19 pandemic, border closure increase in the price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), insecurity in the north, increase in demand and supply; It is for a lot of traders a time to exploit others by inflating the prices of goods through hoarding to create artificial scarcity for such goods.

Nigerian Diaspora Annual Trips
Nigerians living anywhere in the world often refer to the diaspora prefer to travel back home to celebrate Christmas and New Year with their families and friends back home to enjoy communal lifestyles and merriment with a plan trip that starts off from January of every year, whereby international flights to Nigeria are usually sold out for December travels due to the early bookings and rush to purchase tickets in order to secure reasonable fares and a guarantee seats on home bound flights. This years celebration for the diaspora is still going to be a lonesome season for many because just like the previous year when the world witness the deprivations, destructions and devastations of the impacts of Covid-19 on many lives across the globe in view of that the Nigeria government has advice, restricting and imposing travel ban on Nigerians in the diaspora to stay away from visiting the country in order to curtail the spread of the new Covid-19 called Omicron Variant.

Family And Community Meetings
The time of year when all extended family return home and gather under the same roof to share at a meal as one big family under an umbrella called the family tree. Although most family meetings and gatherings are dreaded by most family members because some families don’t always wish to see eye-to-eye and when it happens; it is often a charged up atmosphere, an uncomfortable space with many family members wishing for the gathering to end sooner than later. The meetings of families in Nigeria are often headed by the richest family member irrespective of the position of such family members in the family tree that is being the youngest and given the privilege of seniority over others who are older just because of their financial status in life. Important family meetings are schedule annually in order to make attendance and convergence of the family members easier due to the fact generally the end of year season are holiday time. Thereby, family meetings are often done to discuss the way forward socially, economically & culturally; to correct the wrongs of those that err, to settle family misunderstandings, to seek better ways of upholding family values and ties in order for all family members to live together in peace and harmony as one strong happy family. The disappointment of the expectations, and plans in contrast with the reality on ground are a cause for concern in such meetings when many a member refuses to live up to their responsibilities towards the extended family members as a whole. The tension, discomfort and disagreement on many family issues, instructions and information on the best way forward for the good of not just one but the whole extended families.
A gathering of the individuals from diverse work of life suddenly coming together is always spiced up with envy, hate and anger with very few family members truly caring and loving towards each others irrespective of social class or struggles in life; at such family meetings it is most often than not, a table for picking on each other in distrust and distaste just like the fork with which each family member is picking food pieces away from the food plate.
The community meeting is an extension of family meetings but at the community level with various family elders representing the family households during such meetings for the overall development of the community.

Marriages And Engagements Ceremonies
The December month that happens to be the Christmas and holiday season, celebrations, food and family time happens is prefer by most Nigerian to announce and to be engaged to their heartthrobs while lovers tend to get wedded due to the fact it is time of year when family members from any where in world converge in their various home of birth to witness and take part in cultural activities making a special time of the year feel precious to combine various activities in order to cut down on cost and have many if not all family members in attendance. Weddings during December month takes place before the 25th of or after the 26th of December but never on Christmas day do to several church services for Christmas and for most families taking their thanksgiving to church on boxing day. As a popular saying goes thus; It is all about killing two birds with one stone. And at the end of it all the various activities and events are celebrated together by all family members. There are fewer stress about invitations venues and often times during such seasons only few weddings take place when compare to other out of holiday seasons, the weather is most conducive and beautiful for not as hot, all venues are normally beautifully decorated for awesome photo sessions such weddings usually stands out becoming talk of town making such events sweet and memorable because of attendance and the beautiful seasons of Yuletide. A lot of couples gain much because the needs for endless trips to and fro has been taken off, provisions and preparation for menu are always combine to make for ready made meal, above all it is cheaper to add-in any new event to an event that is a must and is seasonal such as the Christmas seasons.

Church Interdenominational Services
Interdenominational church services is held annually on boxing day to celebrate all the different denominations in the state organizing such services, government representative are usually in attendance, offering prayers and services whereby worship and songs are base on the Christian doctrine and the bible with focus on the love within the Church and worship of god. The focus include teachings on love, empathy, understanding and faith. Inviting people from different Christian faiths and individuals of other religion to join in order to hear the word of the Almighty. The various Christian denominations will sing in different dialect and languages while dancing to the admiration and joy of all in attendance and the Zumunta Mata a popular northern Nigeria women choir, shining, singing and worshiping mostly in native languages and dressed in cultural costumes; always win at such congregational services because they mix culture and spiritual worship excellently. After the service entertainments is served with traditional dishes and beverages.

The Nigerian Festivals
The last quarter of the year most especially the 31 days of December are choked up with various cultural festivals for the Christmas holidays that attracts visitors from within the country and across the global communities coming together to view a show of a lifetime; the evergreen awesomeness of the Nigerian culture, customs, cuisine and costumes in its amazing diversity, each and every day of the month of December are filled up to overflowing with celebration of cultures and cuisines, a kaleidoscope of festive feastings and festivals, endless activities of musical concerts and arts, fashion show of cultural costumes, and an array of cuisine presentations and demonstrations, unique shows to discover new talents, funfairs, Christmas carols, parades and picnics. The flamboyant display of culture, customs, and cuisines takes off only after the customary Christmas tree lighting ceremony on the eve of the month of December exactly the last night of November.

Calabar Port-Harcourt Carnival In The Southern Region Of Nigeria
The carnival starts off few weeks to Christmas and last on for 7 days of sacred cultural ceremony; the Christmas season is the most celebrated festive season not only in Nigeria but globally; carnivals and various traditional side attractions makes for a memorable events, carnivals in Nigeria depicts the popular and powerful cultural heritage with the most awesome and exhilarating experiences that cuts across traditions, customs, cultures and cuisines in the diverse ethnic regions in Nigeria. The time in the lives of many Nigerians to celebrate tradition norms and customs during the holiday seasons in December. The series of carnivals all over Nigeria are just few of the many traditional gifts Nigeria is blessed with, among annual Festivals in Nigeria is the CarniRiv Festival in Port-Harcourt made up of a fusion of various art and artistic display of fashion, lifestyles, cultural customs and the cuisines of the riverine people living on the various river bank communities, with seafood to savor, amazing dance steps and the flexible acrobatic display.
A parade of performing arts, skills, routines, costumes, magnificent masquerades showcasing cultural heritage; the celebration of creativity and culture is at its best during the Calabar Carnival which is a mix and blend of ancient traditional and modern lifestyles. The one week long street party are mind blowing with dancers and dancing steps that are so mesmerizing, colorful costumes all themed after the brazil carnival but a tinged of Nigerian classy culture. The Cross River Christmas festivals invites all across the globe with native artists in attendance, the main attraction is the Calabar carnival boat regatta, it is a show-stopper event, a spectacular occasion with the month of December schedule to showcase for each day, the history, rich culture, native and natural beauty of the ancient and African heritage not only of cross rivers state but of various states in Nigeria.

Menwara-Shani Festival In The Northern Region Of Nigeria
The Shani public festival of the people of Dera in Kanakuru of Shani local government area in Borno state; the indigenous people of Kanakuru that are called the Dera are historical known to be the originator of the Menwara-Shani Festival which is an event to promote the culture and traditions of Shani, establish community relationship and bonds in order to sustain peace and harmony, communal existence that is devoid of enmity are established during the festival such as dispute settlements and reconciliation, positive value are inculcated in the mind and heart of the people of Shani community through various speeches and advices by the traditional rulers, and custodians of cultures, then the ideal code of conduct are publicly instituted and made mandatory to be obeyed by all through cultural rites and taboo sections, social values and norms are re-enforced in the community all over again in traditional dances and songs. The annually held historical events of Menwara Festival takes place during the last quarter of the calendar year precisely before the annual harvest which is simply a pre-harvest traditional ceremony done to uphold the ancestral cultures and rituals of their ancestors. It is a pre harvest festival that takes place during the last quarter of the year and the moon sighting must be observed before the commencement of the annual festival; the sighting of the crescent new moon will then be followed by the official mark-off by the traditional ruler who is the emir of Shani. He gives the go ahead in his palace in the presence of other important and invited dignitaries in his palace; which signals the annual lifting of the traditionally instituted sanctions against all human activities that involves fishing, bush burning, cutting of trees and other activities that might affect the natural ecological set-ups of the community which if not restricted under check and control in the community could lead to destruction and devastation of natural resources of rural communities. The cultural events during the festival involves a kaleidoscope and spectacular show of amazing horse-riders, the community and neighboring villages dancing troupes with colorful costumes, ritual display traditional rites.
The Menwara Annual Festival plays host to past and present leaders, top government personalities, invited guests from all over other local government areas, the sons and daughters from within Shani and outside all coming back home in honor of the Menwara festival of the great ancestors.
The time in the lives of many Nigerians to celebrate tradition norms and customs during the holiday seasons in December. The series of carnivals all over Nigeria are just few of the many traditional gifts Nigeria is blessed with,
A procession to the Oba of Benin takes place in his palace where the people pay homage to his royal highness is royalty at its utmost best and a great procession not to be missed, with beautiful and multi colored costumed dancers, acrobatic displays, praise singing and eulogizing the great king and his kingdom; going on all day and throughout the night until all homage are completed and all have received royal blessings; the event is the Igue or Ewere festival of Benin kingdom Edo state.

Eyo Festival In The Western Region Of Nigeria
A cultural and traditional masquerade display, a modern day tourist attraction for visitors all over the world, a representation of Lagos, a ritual festival that is unique to the people of Lagos state; dedicated and celebrated by the true indigenes of Lagos state Nigeria.
The Eyo festival was originated during the ancient days to spiritually escort and honor the soul of a departed Lagos traditional ruler or king and to install on the throne a new king through a ritual ceremony of the Eyo festival. The festival unlike the ancient days when the ceremony can only be conducted for the burial and installation of a new king, the Oba of Lagos which at times takes many years in between or several events of the Eyo festivals conducted within a single year but in this modern day any sitting governor or an important personality wishing for the event to take place can influence the Eyo festival to be celebrated for a given fee during important occasions or seasons of festivals such as the yuletide or end of year events.
The Eyo festival is performed by costumed dancers often called the masquerades who are the main attraction of the festival; the Eyo masquerades involves a parade of participants dressed in white flowing robes covering the whole body, wearing top hats, holding sticks surrounded by costumed dancers; the top robe is a white “Agbada” underneath the white flowing gown is a wrap around called “aropale”, the costumed hat bearing the color of the group. A shield with ribbons tied around the “Iga” which is the staff. the group senior called Adimu wears. Its mandatory to first pay homage to the Oba of Lagos before the Eyo festival can be celebrated. The festival is given different meaning while to many it is just a fun and exciting cultural public show with a uniqueness trace back to the real dwellers of Lagos state, whether it is a part of the “juju” the Nigerian traditionalists are known for or not. The most important aspect of the festival that must be put into perspective are the rich cultures, customs and costumes of the people of Lagos. The Eyo festival day is the procession of the masquerades in the very heart of the city of Lagos and the Eyo festival parades at its peak takes place on the Lagos island. It is a 24 days of beautiful cultural tsunami sweeping through the city of Lagos. The week preceding the Eyo festivals the senior group called “Adimu” must first go public holding a staff as a cultural ritual to announce the events of the Eyo festivals while all the four Eyo groups take their turn to parade and showcase all around town from Monday through to Thursday; the weekend after the parades of all the four groups which includes the “Laba-Red”, “Oniko-Yellow”, “Ologede-Green”, and “Agere-Purple” groups are all identified by the colors of their hats and staffs. The Eyo festival taboos must be avoided by all participants in order to avoid the wrath of the ancestral gods represented through the Eyo masquerades.

Thanksgivings To Give Thanks
The celebration of the harvest festivals in the Nigerian churches is theme on the thanksgiving and Halloween celebration in various parts of the world; the harvest festival is celebrated to defeat the spirit of the crops through the harvest and thanksgiving bazaar which is a yearly celebration of giving thanks to God by Christians through thanksgiving financial donations of money enclosed in brown envelopes, harvest produce of foodstuffs such as yam tubers, rice, maize crops, fruits, cooking oil, clothing of wax and guinea brocade materials and animals like goats, sheep, cows and even chicken. In Nigeria the churches organizes the harvest thanksgiving and bazaar to give thanks for the past blessings, appreciating the blessings for the gifts of life while praying and pleading for more blessings in the years ahead; churches where thanksgivings take place are of the belief and strong in faith that such activities will assist the growth and strengthened the bonds within the body of Christ which is the church.
Thanksgiving in churches, village town halls or schools involves lots of activities such as decorating, singing, dancing, parade file of Christians bringing to the church family thanksgiving to be presented to the church, while other families will bring to the churches varieties of traditional dishes of native soups prepared with the smoked bush meats instead of the popular turkey meat, locally made beverages of alcohol and non-alcoholic drinks, assorted annually respected meals, and delicious locally prepared snacks, the prayers sessions are highly renewing for the body, mind and souls of powerful prayers by the prayer warriors who are respected to be holy and that their prayers can “move mountains” while other church programs includes music, parades, games, sports, and the thanksgiving feasts.
All valuable items or harvest produce that are brought in to the various churches for thanksgiving are collected in a circle for all members to gather around and see the bountiful blessings of harvest, during the bazaar members take turn to go around the harvest collections after which each member is asked to pick any item and the item to be picked must be different from the item brought to the church while others go as far as placing name tags of members on the items brought for the thanksgiving bazaar which is regarded as a blessing of other members to be shared with other members of the church; in some churches to make the thanksgiving bazaar exciting and challenging items such as toys, clothing’s or foodstuffs are auction or sold and the proceeds given to the church.

Season Of Carols And Service Of 9 Lessons
The time of year when the festive season of Christmas shines a bright light into the dark streets and lives of people all around the world, when the soothing and soul-lifting songs of the festival of Christmas carols light up the souls of many faithful Christians just as when the Sparkling Star Of Bethlehem light up the path for the three wise men searching for the New Born King.
The Christmas carol night is a song fiesta of the blessings, and lessons of the spirit of Christmas season; an event of praise and worship sessions by various church choirs and music bands representing all tribes in Nigeria through song renditions, an orchestrated series of songs and praise worship that leaves many filled with the spirits of the season for the courageous they dance in praise worship for the meek in spirit they cry silently with arms raise up to the heavens for heavenly blessings, a charge up environment with many of the world praying for forgiveness, seeking and giving their lives to the Almighty God to be born anew just as the new born baby Jesus.
The congregational hymns and carols follows each of the nine (9) lessons during the season of carols is an expression of gratitude for the gift of Jesus; the season of nine lessons and carols are spiced up with songs of praises and hymns that are read intermittently from the holy bible by church leaders and important guests.
The Christmas carols in most Nigerian villages is completely a whole ball game in a community living freely as one big family; cultural carol takes place in the different tribal languages, that are themed according to regions, going on visitations to various family homes to blessed and give the good tidings of the season of hope, sharing and caring while taking along gifts to give and be given also, it is a beautiful carnivals of cultural dances, singing seen parading all across communities lighting up hearts and homes of their communities.
Christmas carols for students in schools marks the end of school sessions; when the season of carols takes on a different note completely whereby the story of Christmas is told through songs, dramas, choreography, poems, rendition of beautiful hymns to teach and inculcate in the young minds the reason for the season, lesson of giving and receiving, kindness and keeping the faith, sharing and caring as the lord Jesus taught the world.
At the end of it all the cutting of the cake takes place, benedictions ends the annually held carol service of songs, presentations of gifts follows to appreciate and thank all participants, then it is followed by closing prayers instilling in the souls of Christians faithful a new life and renewed hope into a much more greater years ahead.
In Nigeria the past few years has taken away the beauty and shine off the service of songs due to insecurities and Covid-19 with various safety protocols are put in place while in other places ban is instituted on the congregational Christmas carol festivals in order to protect and prevent another wave of Covid-19 threatening the lives of Nigerians.

Festive Feasting
Nigerians work hard, play hard and party hard; Christmas celebration in Nigeria is a big affair where cuisines are concern although differing according to cultural cuisines relished by tribal regions. A sumptuous and scrumptious dishes that are vibrant in colors, so flavorful and loaded in its richness. Nigerians spare no expense in bringing to the table the flavor and aroma of the Nigerian kitchen at its best, believing that the taste of home cooking can never be replaced but be remembered. The festivities in Nigeria is a big feast with the traditional goat slaughtering the buying of goats is not a must for all families those who couldn’t afford it buy the Turkey or chicken while for the poor families wishing to keep kid away from straying into others home simply by chicken parts and beef meat to feed their families. The feast starts off with the goat slaughter & roasting. The goat roasting is preferred by most Christian families to skinning the goat due to the unique aroma of roasted goat after cooking. A lot of dishes are cooked using the meat such as goat head pepper soup called ngwongwo by the Igbo people while other dishes include fried meat, goat stew and soup, the one pot dish of jollof rice, vegetables soups of egusi efo or idikankon to take down the swallow of pounded yam or akpu or eba & tuwo with lots of drinks.

Christmas Jollof Rice
The party jollof rice is prepared during events to serve a large number of guests Nigerian, often cooked in large iron pots with the firewood fireplace, sentimentally a lot of party goers believe the party jollof rice are better tasting that the home cooked jollof rice, may be due to the reason that a large number of guests are served and every one is seen with a food platter consisting of jollof rice, coleslaw salad, fried meat and snacks served with drinks of choice.

Recipe Ingredients
Rice mostly the long grain
Goat meat stock or broth
Vegetable oil
Tomatoes paste or puree, Red bell pepper, tomatoes, scotch bonnets and onions.
Onions and tomatoes sliced or chopped
Seasoning cubes, and salt
Mixed Spices of curry, thyme and bay leaves

Recipe Steps
Generally during parties or events animals are slaughtered for the events, such as a cow, ram or goat that is cut up after thoroughly dressing up the raw meat, place on heat with spices, chopped onions, seasoning cubes and salt to taste; hardly does such method of cooking meat need added water because the water in the raw meat is enough to cook it until tender with excess stock to use for the party jollof rice. After cooking the meat that is always in large quantities, it is fried and reserve separately. The meat stock is divided into parts for the party stew, for cooking the party jollof rice and the remaining kept for other dishes requiring meat stocks.
Wash rice to rinse off dirts and starch, drain water and keep; bring water to boil and pour in the wash rice, then parboil for just some few minutes. Drain water and rinse again to reduce the starch contents and to make for a fluff not mushy jollof rice.
On low heat place a sauce pan, add the cooking oil to heat up then add chopped onion and sauté for few minutes, add the tomatoes paste or puree, season with spices of choice for that special smoky party taste such as the thyme, curry, garlic, ginger powder and drop in the bay leaves without crushing it, stirring continuously until a thicken sauce, add in to the sauce grounded pepper, season with salt seasoning cubes and stir fry until a dried up sauce but not sticking to pot.
Pour in the goat meat stock and blend in properly, bring it to boil and then add in the parboiled rice, half way through doneness, reduce heat further down and finish off the cooking with the steam.
Scoop, remove the bay leaves and arrange the fried goat on the side of the platter as garnishing.
Serve with any green vegetable of choice, coleslaw is generally the most preferred.
Enjoy it with any traditionally prepared beverage of kunun zaki, rice milk, or the nutrient-dense zobo drink prepared with the sorrel-hibiscus red buds.

Christmas Cakes And Cookies
Cakes And Cookies are part of Christmas treats, often baked and given as gift; while the Fruit cakes always standout by simply decorating the cake with colorful icing to theme it with the Christmas season using the vabriant colors of red and green as the best choice with dried fruits of choice for crunchiness, add in are some nuts for that nutty taste. Share a slice with families and friends for a December to remember.

Recipe Ingredients
All purpose flour mix with coconut or Almond flour if using
Butter or margarine
Powdered sugar
Fresh eggs
Dried mix fruits
Lemon & orange zest.
Red & green cherries chopped
Vanilla essence
Baking powder
Whole or powdered Milk 
Coconut or almond flakes.

Recipe Steps
Always preheat oven, to make ready a warm oven to bake for a fluffy evenly baked cake, then oil the baking pan and dust it with flour or lined with non stick paper to avoid the moist baked cake from sticking to baking pan. Sprinkle the dried fruits with a dusting of flour to keep fruits within the cake mixture. Add vanilla to milk and stir to mix properly. Sieve flour after adding baking powder and a pinch of salt to give balance to a rather too bland or too sweet cake.
Sieve in the almond or coconut flour, stir together to blend. Place butter into a mixing bowl add in the powdered sugar then use the creaming method to mix until fluffy light.
Whisk and beat the egg into the mixture one at a time, work on it until totally blended in scraping into the mixture side of the bowl.
Add in the sieved flour gradually fold in lightly and gently, avoid over mixing. Next to be Added are the dried fruits and chopped cherries; fold it all in to coat fruits and cherries.
Scoop into a cake pan of choice, level the top out and then sprinkle almond or coconut flakes all over cake batter; put into the preheated oven and bake cake to doneness. Check half way through for even bake, if oven is too hot cover top of cake with foil paper to avoid burning and browning; when baked remove from oven and allow to cool on a baking rack, before removing from pan.
Slice & serve with other dishes or wrap for gift.

Crispy Crunchy ChinChin
A popular Nigeria street snack that is a must serve at all events irrespective of tribes, religion or culture; it is the easiest and cheapest of all Nigerian snacks that is easily available anywhere and everywhere, the recipe ingredients depends on affordability and the richness of the chinchin. Beautiful packaged in fancy packs and sachets, then label according to preference and sold in schools, offices, market places and at the reach of everyone when hawked around streets and major highways. The chinchin making for important events is a huge ceremony with the special gatherings of invited women for the frying of the wedding chinchin in northern Nigeria, singing and dancing becomes parts of the mixing, dough kneading and cutting. While the frying just about takes the moment to a completely amazing performance with several women expertly holding the huge perforated spoons to turn, twist and flip the frying chinchin all around before dropping into a large waiting dish for collecting the fried chinchin.

Recipe Ingredients
All purpose flour
Baking Powder
Butter or margarine
Egg fresh
Milk powder
Vanilla flavor
Cooking oil for frying

Recipe Steps
The right measurement for the quantity of flour used determines the crispiness or texture of the fried crunchy snack generally called ChinChin in Nigeria.
Sieve into a mixing bowl the all purpose flour to incorporate more air, add salt, sugar, milk powder, and flavor, combine to blend in all the dry ingredients.
The more the butter the more soft and crumbly the chinchin will turn out after baking or deep frying; drop into the flour the required dollop of the butter, then use the rubbing in method to mix into crumbly texture.
Break eggs into a separate bowl and whisk then add into the flour mixture and mix in until a dough forms.
Transfer onto a kitchen work surface area and knead until smooth not stretchy into the desired thickness, this step in the chinchin making process determines its outcome of whether it is going to be hard and tough to chew or soft and crumbly.
Roll out flat the soft dough, cut out shapes and sizes of choice with a pastry cutter, a sharp knife or simply use a pasta machine for a fast rolling and cutting.
Spread out on a baking tray and bake until golden brown and crunchy if using the oven.
The frying method is to place on medium heat a dry pot, pour into it cooking oil to heat up, drop into the hot oil onion slices to give the oil a delicious aroma thus giving the chinchin a nice taste.
Fry the tiny goodies cut into squares in hot oil until crispy golden brown.
Remove from oil with a perforated spoon and drain oil by transferring all fried chinchin into a perforated bowl lined with kitchen paper towel to drain excess oil.
Serve with drinks of choice or store in airtight containers or jar to retain its crunchy texture.
A sweet gift for the season of sharing, make extra batches and present to visitors, a delightful treat for kids with fruit juices and sweets.
Enjoy the sweet delight.

Goat Head And Legs Pepper Soup Or Isiewu In Igbo
The dish is called “isiewu” for the goat head and legs pepper soup while it is called “NgwoNgwo” for the goat meat pepper soup; the same recipe can be use in preparing the goat meat or offal pepper soup, alternatively using other native spices for variety in aroma and taste. A delicious delicacy of Igbo of eastern Nigeria favorite dish often serve during special events or festive moments for important guests, along with the locally brewed palm wine.
The special delicacy has fantastically finds its way into many restaurant menus, locally and internally with many craving for that unique taste of the spicy “Isiewu” that always brings to the palates of those who relish the dish the memory of home and the holiday season of Christmas in Nigeria.

Recipe Ingredients
goat head & legs
Ground Crayfish
Red bell pepper
Scotch bonnets
native spices
garlic & ginger powder.
Black pepper and mint leaves
Seasoning cubes
Salt to taste

Recipe Steps
Wash thoroughly the goat head and legs to get rid of excess hair, burnt goat skin and dirts. Cut into bitable sizes and keep covered in a separate dish.
Meanwhile blend the onions, bell pepper and scotch bonnet into a paste; Shred or crush the mint leaves, ground the crayfish.
On medium heat place a sauce pan, transfer the wash and cut into pieces the goat head and legs, pour in enough water to make for enough broth, add chop onions, salt, and seasoning cubes.
Cover and allow few more boil then add in the blended pepper paste, the potash, ground crayfish, spices of ginger and garlic powder; mix all in properly and cover to cook.
Lastly, add the mint leaves, cover and simmer until cooked.
Serve hot or cold anytime of day.

NgwoNgwo Pepper Soup
A special dish, that is spicy and nutritious that is absolutely a delight for everyone. It is prepared with goat offal consisting of tripe’s, intestine, liver, kidney, heart, spleen, testicles, and the flesh enclosing the offal or tripe are added for more taste and richness. It is the part of animals that requires a lot of time to clean off all animal roughages in lot of hot water. It takes a long time also on heat to cook but at the end of it all it is well worth it.

Recipe Ingredients
Goat offal
Mix native spices of choice such as ginger, garlic, cloves, chili pepper and locust beans for the northern regions while for the southern regions depending on tribal cuisine the following spices are added ground crayfish utazi and uziza leaf, Uda stick, roasted Ehuru.
Seasoning cubes
Salt to taste
Scotch bonnets and Bell pepper
The goat offal must always be thoroughly wash and cleanse off all its impurities.
Place on medium heat, after washing the goat offal then cut into bite sizes, transfer into saucepan, season with cubes, salt, chopped onions, then pour in enough water.
Cover and cook until tender and soften enough to chew.
Grind, pound or mill into powder all spices of choice and add to simmering pepper soup, add ground crayfish and more water necessary.
Cover and simmer until cooked. Serve alone or with other side dishes of choice.

Creamy Coleslaw Salad
Coleslaw is from the Dutch word “Koolsla” meaning for “Kool” is cabbage and “Sla” is for salad. Coleslaw salad is a light side dish that can be serve alone or with other dishes. A part of Nigerian menu often requested and relished at parties, events and celebrations by Nigerians as a side dish to a variety of meal reasons to why coleslaw is on almost all menus for parties, picnics, or barbecues. Celebration such as the Christmas and new year are not left out of the sweet deliciousness of the richness in the nourishing and crunchy beautifully shredded vegetables, which is toss in the sweet and sour dressings.

Recipe Ingredients
Green or purple Cabbage
Purple onions
Spring onions
Dressings includes mayonnaise, lemon juice, black or chili pepper
Pinch of salt
Cucumber (Optional)
Scotch bonnets (optional)
Sweet peas (optional)

Recipe Steps
Pick always a firm cabbage that has no bruises, cut off the hard stems and peel off the first layers of leaf covering it.
Rinse under running water, cut into two from the middle, and place flat on a firm, clean work area, then shred with a sharp kitchen knife. Shred cabbage into preferred sizes or use the food processor for a fast shredding, a good grater also can be use to perfectly shred the cabbage.
Rinse all other vegetables, scrape off the carrots and grate or slice. Shred the spring onions and slice into rings the purple onions.
A salad glass bowl is always best for mixing salad, transfer all shredded vegetables into the bowl, mix to blend in all colors.
Scoop over the vegetables the dressings and toss to mix until all vegetable is coated with the dressing for coleslaw.
Chill in the refrigerator before serving or combine and serve immediately.

Gift Sharing And Visitations
In Nigeria visits are not special reserve for kids alone the grown up are very much part of the endless visits to the homes of childhood friends the grandparents and in laws to greet and gift them packages of the Christmas goodies which includes money snacks, Christmas dishes and clothing. On Christmas day church choirs visits homes of church members to sing Christmas carols while children visits are completely different for their visit is receive gift of money to replenish the firecrackers and bangers fireworks while other use theirs to buy colorful spectacles or shades balloons kids wrist watches and the remaining change they use to visit game reserves popularly called zoo to watch animas to ride on horses and go atop the merry go round in celebrating the merry Christmas. The visits continues every day through to the new year, while close friends organized an all night parties, picnics to have a special moments with their families in order to give the Yuletide the ultimate package of celebration, meeting and making new friends while many are seen overeating and drinking to stupor due to availability and accessibility of various dishes, free and expensive wine and alcoholic drinks; always remember that “Awuf de run belle” meaning that excess in anything is bad.

Safety And Health Tips For The Holidays
The season of celebration are moments to make beautiful memories with friends and families to be thankful and celebrate the gift of life a time to appreciate and make appraisals on life in relation to the world and Almighty Creator. The hustle and bustle of life can easily take ones breath away forgetting the risk in life when one is making a brisk efforts to achieve set out goals and aspirations. The holiday season is when life happens so fast incidents and accidents can occur within seconds anywhere at anytime. It is vital to take precautions and be careful to prevent the mostly avoidable issues in an unsafe environment. Fire incidences are avoidable if one is careful. Always get professionals to handle fireworks which must be done in places where there are no highly flammable objects or items. Electrical outputs must be carefully monitored for voltage fluctuations. Christmas season falls mostly during the Harmattan weather in Nigeria that is known as “Winter” in other parts of the world; it is hazy, with cool dry winds that blows around dust making it a time that avoidable fire incidences can occur easily especially while cooking the different recipes to impress friends and families. It is advisable to take great precautions in such places whether in or outdoors, all fireplaces must be put off before bedtime or when going out to shopping for some more goodies. Kids are curious and a handful so never leave them alone and unsupervised by an adult anywhere in the house. Health is wealth and healthy living is wise, put all activities during the festivities in balance, no one is a super man or woman always do the best you can and leave the rest. Avoid stress which is unhealthy and can ruin any beautiful moment with families and friends, remember less is more and it is the best. Rest more, sleep more and eat less never be taken away at the sight of all the irresistible Christmas goodies by eating everything presented, it will only add to the pound if portion is not control; always eat and drink in moderation. Avoid large gathering if it happens, remember to observe all Covid-19 protocol, so stay apart more to stay safe. Observe hygiene while cooking and handling foodstuffs birds and meats. Always cook in a clean environment and wash your hands severally in between activities in and around the home. Travel and trip around safely, observe all safety tips while travel. Do not be caught off guard on lone road or isolated places. Always keep in touch with a trusted family member while travelling to keep track of your destinations while on the way. The holiday season is always the season for breaking into homes, so keep all travel plans off social media and if travelling get a trusted neighbor to watch over your home. Be careful of hackers online by minimizing transactions online, and never make financial details available online to avoid scammers and fake businesses looking out for easy prey to rip off a lifetime of savings and valuables. Avoid inviting and meeting strangers you met online, NOT all that glitters is Gold, many individuals are NOT who they want YOU to believe they are, be cautious and be careful.

The birthday and season of the birth of Jesus Christ is a controversial topic among the different denomination within Christianity but the Christmas season is the reason to celebrate hope in the hopelessness of the human race. A season not to allow worldly gifts consumes the souls of the living but to accept and appreciate the free “gift” of life. A time and a season to share loving kindness by being kind to one another. A moment in time to allow the precious gift of selfless love to be the light in the lives of humanity; for peace on earth, stop the senseless killings, violent crimes, terrorism and war. It is the season to make the world a better place for all irrespective of race or religion; it is the season so stay safe. Merry Christmas!