COMMENTARY ON CHRISTMAS IN GHANA
Christmas is here with us again. To most people — Christians and non-Christians alike, this is the season to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ. Globally, the festive season comes with public holidays and marks an end of a year.
In Ghana, the celebration starts from December 20th to the first week of January, which marks the beginning of another new year. ‘Bronya’ the Akan translation of Christmas, brings memories and joy to Ghanaians when mentioned. The festive season is a big deal for all Ghanaians. It is this time that many people travel from all walks of life to visit their loved ones. Gifts are exchanged among loved ones, corporate end of year get-togethers are organised, parties and social gatherings cannot be left out of the yuletide.
When it comes to Christmas rituals, there are so many of them: ranging from carol services, nativity plays, church activities, gift-giving to Christmas dinners. For the Christian celebration of Christmas, the viewing of the Nativity play is one of the oldest traditions with the first reenactment of the Nativity of Jesus taking place in A.D. 1223.
The Christmas tree cannot be left out of Christmas. History has it that the Christmas tree was first used by German Lutherans in the 16th century and gradually it has spread to other parts of the world. The Christmas tree which was rare in Ghana has over the years found its roots in the celebration. Most homes may have Christmas trees decorated with many colorful items. According to Wikipedia the traditional colors of Christmas decorations are red, green, and gold. Red symbolizes the blood of Jesus, which was shed in his crucifixion, while green symbolizes eternal life, and in particular, the evergreen tree, which does not lose its leaves in the winter, and gold is the first color associated with Christmas, as one of the three gifts of the Magi, symbolizing royalty. When decorating the Christmas tree, many individuals place a star at the top of the tree symbolizing the Star of Bethlehem.
Another ritual that comes with the festive time is the Christmas dinners. Some Ghanaian homes cook their special Christmas meals on December 25 whilst others prepare theirs in January. Some families who prepared ahead of time for the celebration and can afford, do cook special Christmas meals on December 25 and on January 1st. It is a time for families who hardly go out to make it a point to go out to the beach, restaurant, and parties to have fun.
As we prepare for the yuletide, an important tip is the need for a stress-free and accident-free festive season. The season can be very stressful however it is best to start the holiday with a well-thought-out plan. Remember to relax, stay sane and be safe on the roads. The season is noted for high travel speeds, overtaking, driving under the influence of alcohol/drugs, fatigue driving, wrongful road crossings among others. It is heartwarming to note that the National Road Safety Authority in Ghana has launched its 2019 Road Safety Christmas Campaign to raise awareness for the holiday season. A crash-free yuletide is possible and we must as a people and country, join hands with the National Road Safety Authority to ensure the safety and protection of human lives during this festive season.
BY: PASCAL AMOAH NELSON