Christmas in Botswana

Botswana is in the southern hemisphere, so Christmas comes during the summer when it is very hot.

During the spring, families who own cows and goats take their livestock to live far away from their fields in a place called cattlepost. Some cows and goats always live at the cattleposts, but others are moved to the cattlepost in the spring and back to the village area in the fall.

About one third of people live in the cities of Gaborone, Francistown Jwaneng and Lobatse. About a week before Christmas, most people from these cities travel back to their home villages. And then, people from the villages travel out to their cattleposts for several days after Christmas.

The churches in the villages have special services on Christmas Eve. On Christmas Eve, the church is usually more full than on any other day of the year. Sometimes three different choirs will sing during the Christmas Eve Service: the regular choir, the youth choir and a children's choir.

On Christmas Day, many people walk or drive out to their cattlepost. Each family's cattlepost is about six kilometres from the next family's cattlepost. The families go to visit other cattleposts and sing Christmas songs acapella in beautiful four part harmony. The people of Botswana often dance as they sing. Some choirs have new choir uniforms made before Christmas. Then the choir walks or drives from one cattlepost to another that are associated with their village singing for the different families.

Most families kill a goat or a cow at Christmas time and enjoy eating a lot of meat during the Christmas holidays.

Some people will have a Christmas Tree, although this is a relatively new custom. Giving gifts is also popular but for most people gifts are home made. Often only rich people can afford to buy gifts for each other.

Boxing Day is also a public holiday in Botswana.