Explore and Understand Africa Through Her Food and Culture

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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus in Africa

Christmas across Africa brings friends and family together for food, laughter and gifts. 

Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus in Africa

On this day, Christmas day December 25, over 400 million Christians in Africa commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem.

Egypt's Coptic Christians celebrate Christmas on January 7. About 10% of Egyptians are Coptic Christians, making up the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. Baba Noel is the Arabic name for England's Father Christmas, in the United States Baba Noel is better known as Santa Claus. Africans South Africans call him Vader Kersfees while in Morocco Santa Claus is known as Black Peter.
Christmas across Africa brings friends and family together for food, laughter and gifts.

In the Netherlands where many Moroccan expats live, the annual appearance of Black Peter or Black Pete takes on an entirely different meaning for the season of goodwill and joy depending on who you ask.

Who is Black Pete? Today Black Pete is a white person made up, wearing black face-paint and an Afro. Originally, some believe he was a 300-year-old mischievous black servant who worked for Saint Nickolas gathering naughty children into his sack and taking them away. Others believe Black Peter was a freed slave who chooses to stay and assist Saint Nickolas.

In 2015, the most common explanation of Black Pete's dark skin is soot gathered during his midnight trips up and down chimneys, delivering presents to good boys and girls. The Dutch iconic figure of Black Pete’s on parade marks the beginning of the Dutch holiday season. Many Dutch see dressing up as Black Pete, Saint Nickolas sidekick, as harmless fun. 

There is a Santa Claus in Africa who has many names and traditions but no matter the beliefs or customs in Africa or abroad, may peace be your gift, love, laughter and blessings live within you all year through.

Merry Christmas!

Did you know?
Below are just a few ways to say Merry Christmas in the African language.

Afrikaans- Gesëende Kersfees
Akan- Afishapa
Amharic- Melkam Yelidet Beaal
Arabic- Idah Saidan Wa Sanah Jadidah
Dutch- Vrolijk Kerstfeest en een Gelukkig Nieuwjaar! or Zalig Kerstfeast
English- Merry Christmas
Farsi- Cristmas-e-shoma mobarak bashad
French- Joyeux Noel
German- Froehliche Weihnachten
Hausa- Barka da Kirsimatikuma Barka da Sabuwar Shekara!
Sotho-Matswalo a Morena a Mabotse
Spanish- Feliz Navidad
Swahili- Kuwa na Krismasi njema
Swazi- Sinifisela Khisimusi Lomuhle
Yoruba- E ku odun, e ku iye'dun!

Zulu- Sinifisela Ukhisimusi Omuhle

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