Christmas in Namibia

Namibia is in the Southern Hemisphere, so Christmas takes place during one of the hottest parts of the year. However, many Christmas traditions in Namibia come from Germany as it was a German colony between 1884 and 1915.

Christmas celebration start with Advent an advent crown is used in many churches and some homes (although as it's so hot often electric candles are used as wax ones can melt in the heat).

On St Nicholas' Day, 6th December, some children will hope for a visit from St Nicholas and there might be a St Nicholas party at schools. This is often the time that Christmas lights are switched on in the big towns and cities. As well as 'traditional' Christmas light decorations like snowmen and candles, you might also see Namibian animals like elephants!

Having a Christmas Tree is also popular. Some German speaking Namibians like to import pine trees from South Africa. But often a branch of a thorn tree is used instead. The tree is normally put up and decorated on Christmas Eve.

The main Christmas meal is also eaten on Christmas Eve. German style Christmas cookies, often made from gingerbread or marzipan, are popular to have with the meal.

Following the Christmas Eve meal, it's common for people to go to a Midnight Mass service.

People from the parts of northern Namibia where the Oshiwambo language believe that Christmas is all about sharing. Their Christmas meals are often braais (barbecues) which are shared among family, friends and the local community.

People often travel back to their home villages from the cities to spend Christmas with their families. Having weddings at this time is also now becoming popular. Other people head to the coast of Namibia where it's a bit cooler - and you might even build a 'sandman' rather than a 'snowman'!.

In Namibia, three of the main languages spoken are English, German and Afrikaans. So you can say 'Merry Christmas', 'Frohe Weihnachten' and 'Geseënde Kersfees'. Happy/Merry Christmas in lots more languages.