How to get ready for Christmas in South Africa: lunch ideas, trees, crackers, table decor

How to get ready for Christmas in South Africa: lunch ideas, trees, crackers, table decor

Are you tired of cold and snow? Then why not spend Christmas in South Africa? This is a joyous celebration with lots of family time and delicious food. And since South Africa is in the Southern Hemisphere, the holiday comes in the summer, with a lot of sun and beautiful flowers in full bloom, making your stay memorable. This article has a detailed guide on how the holiday is celebrated.

christmas lunch ideas south africa
White bauble on christmas tree. Photo:, @pixabay
Source: UGC

The December festive season is celebrated worldwide in many varied and unique ways. Africa also has traditions and customs regarding marking the most important date on the Christian calendar. From candlelight carols to outdoor feasts, Christmas in South Africa is fun, and you should not miss out! So how is Christmas celebrated and observed? See the guide below:

History of Christmas in South Africa

Is Christmas a big deal in South Africa? Very much so! It is a special day when people commemorate the birth of Christ in Bethlehem.

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Although historians are debating the actual date of his birth, the accepted date is December 25th. So, when African people decorate trees during this period, they are sending regard to ancient times.

What is Christmas called in South Africa?

Famed as the rainbow nation, South Africa is home to different cultures and languages, including 11 official languages. Therefore, there are many different ways to call the holiday. Some of the most common ways include:

  • Geseënde Kersfees – Afrikaans
  • UKhisimusi omuhle – Zulu
  • Krismesi emnandi – Xhosa
  • Le be le keresemese e monate – Sotho

How do they celebrate Christmas in South Africa?

christmas trees south africa
Lighted christmas tree. Photo: @brettsayles
Source: UGC

Schools are usually closed during this time, and everyone is at home with their families. Shops and other businesses usually close and post notices on their doors saying they are closed for the holiday. Some institutions close for the entire month of December to mark these celebrations.

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Some of the activities that people indulge in are visits to various attractions sites, such as the Kruger National Park and the beach huts in Muizenberg, where you can take pictures. The area is also a famous surfing town known for freezing water, sharks and fantastic seafood restaurants.

Other beautiful and familiar beaches are Plettenberg Bay, Camps Bay, Clifton Beach, Bloubergstrand, Sodwana and Durban's South Beach. You can also attend a summer music festival, outdoor movies and rooftop concerts. These are great ways to have fun and meet new people in South Africa.

Xmas Eve

On Xmas Eve, carolers make their rounds decorating the city. Churches hold their services, and the celebrations get better. Christmas decorations in South Africa are also evident.

Christmas trees in South Africa include using pine branches or a decorated Xmas tree. The celebrations are also marked by singing, dancing and feasting.

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Unique Christmas dishes in South Africa

Christmas is a day for people to eat their favourite delicious meals. Some Christmas lunch ideas in South Africa include plum pudding, mince pies, vegetables, turkey, yellow rice, roast beef, and other variations of festive dishes that add a taste to the celebration.

Later there is a feast of rice and yam paste (fufu) with stew or okra soup, porridge, and meats. Families eat together with close neighbours and even exchange gifts.

In South Africa, it is a long-held tradition to celebrate Xmas Day lunch in the early afternoon. However, it is slowly shifting as more people are opting for an Eve dinner.

The Xmas lunch is often eaten outside in the beautiful weather, South Africans never miss a chance to have a braai (barbecue), and if the weather is perfect, they will fire up the coals and bring out the meat.

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Christmas crackers in South Africa

christmas decorations south africa
Green christmas tree. Photo: @ifreestock
Source: UGC

Christmas isn't complete without crackers! Christmas crackers are adorable, festive Christmas table decor in South Africa that make a snapping sound when opened.

They usually include a small gift, a paper hat, and a joke. Pulling the Christmas cracker, which brings joy and laughter into the homes of all who use them, is one of the funniest parts of the Christmas celebrations.

How long does a Christmas celebration last in South Africa?

Celebrations last for two days. Those businesses that stay open find it challenging to get anything done. The 25th and the 26th of December are both public holidays. Most shops are closed over these two days, but it is still possible to grocery shop at large outlets like Woolworths and Pick 'n Pay.

What countries do not celebrate Christmas?

Afghanistan, Algeria, Bhutan, North Korea, Libya, Mauritania, Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Yemen do not recognize Xmas as a public holiday.

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Amazing Christmas facts

christmas crackers south africa
Close-up of Christmas decorations hanging on tree. Photo: @thisbrandstudio
Source: UGC

Below are some amazing facts about Christmas.

  • The holiday celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ.
  • The term Xmas means Christmas.
  • Santa Claus was known as Sinterklaas in Dutch.
  • The Xmas wreath is a symbol of love and eternal life.
  • Baby Jesus received some beautiful gifts when he was born.
  • Santa Claus did not always dress up in red clothes.
  • The mistletoe is the symbol of love and laughter!
  • People give cards to convey their feelings to their loved ones.

The above guide has everything you would love to know and other interesting information about Christmas in South Africa. The celebration is about festive concerts, sunny outdoor feasts and street parades. For almost everyone in Africa, Xmas is a time to gather with friends and family, attend church and enjoy a big feast – but every country also has unique festive traditions.

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There has always been a major celebration at the start of the year that incorporates many fun New Year's customs. This is the best time to interact with people in your life. And one of the best methods to show them your love and care in such a situation is to send them New Year's greetings.

Source: Briefly News

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