Christmas Around The World - Nigeria - The British Hamper Company

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Christmas Around The World - Nigeria

23 Nov 2020

On our whistle stop tour around the world of Christmas traditions, we leave Christmas in New Zealand behind us and head north west for 16,224km to Nigeria.

Located on the western coast of Africa, Nigeria is one of the most populous countries in the world (and the most populous in Africa) with a population of just over 200 million people. 

English is the official language of Nigeria but the population is so varied (around 250 ethnic groups) that there are more than 500 languages spoken throughout the country.

Nigeria is famous for it's huge film industry. With an output only second to Bollywood (India), Nollywood has made household names out of many Nigerian actors across the African continent and further afield.

So, how do they celebrate Christmas in Nigeria?


In Nigeria, Christmas is celebrated on 25th December.

Religious Influence

Nigeria is split almost half and half between Christian and Muslim but most people celebrate Christmas.


Most people will have an artificial Christmas Tree and decorate their houses. The best decorations are in businesses, banks and corporations who all try to out-do each other with elaborate decorations. Streets and parks in cities also tend to be decorated. A bank in Lagos is well-known for its spectacular light show.


Christmas around the world - Nigeria - Christmas tree

Photo by Kevin Bidwell from Pexels



Christmas in Nigeria is a time for families to get together. Those who live in cities tend to travel to villages to see older relatives. Many families will have Christmas parties that last all of Christmas Eve night. On Christmas morning, many people will go to church. Children might play with firecrackers at Christmas time. Christmas cards and gifts are exchanged among family and friends. Some companies will gift bags of rice to their workers so they can cook it as part of their Christmas meal.

It’s very important to most Nigerians to wear their best clothes on Christmas Day – women wear colourful, artfully tied geles (headscarves), men often wear new, sparkling shoes, girls wear traditional clothing or pretty dresses with dainty handbags, and boys will wear their best shirt. People also tend to get their hair cut ready for Christmas.

Nigerians refer to Santa Claus as Father Christmas (although some may say Father Christmas exists while Santa Claus does not), children may go to shopping centres to visit ‘Father Christmas’ and get a gift from him. In villages, masquerade groups perform various cultural dances while dressed in bright traditional costumes and elaborate masks, in exchange for money.

Firework displays start up a few weeks before Christmas and start off small but gradually get bigger and bigger until the best ones on Christmas night.


The traditional Christmas dishes include; turkey, beef, goat, sheep, ram, chicken, pounded ham, jollof (rice dish cooked in pepper with vegetables as garnish served with fried beef/chicken and Coca-Cola), fried rice, vegetable salad, and stew (the type of stew varies from family to family).

Our next destination sees us looking at Christmas celebrations in Norway.