African Easter Traditions: How Communities across Africa Celebrate the Holiday
Easter is a Christian holiday that is celebrated by people all around the world. While the ways in which Easter is celebrated vary from country to country, one thing that remains the same is that Easter is a time for family and friends to come together and enjoy each other's company. In this blog post, we'll take a look at how Easter is celebrated in some African countries.
How is Easter Celebrated In Africa?
Easter is a time for rest and relaxation, and in many parts of the world, that means taking a break from work. In Africa, Easter is typically celebrated as a national holiday, with people enjoying a long weekend off from work.
Easter in Africa is a very significant time for Christians. Church services are held for four days, from Thursday to Easter Sunday. These Easter vigils are usually filled with different activities, such as singing hymns, praying, reading Bible verses, and watching movies about Jesus’ death and resurrection. Similar to what we experience here in the west, Easter in Africa is a time when Christians come together to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
For families who are able to, Easter is typically marked with parties where people visit their friends and relatives to share a meal. Across Africa, you will find over and over again that value for tight-knit family is of the utmost importance, and this is made especially evident at Easter time. Since Easter typically allows for a few days off work or school, it is the perfect time for families to come together and commune.
What Kinds of Things are Associated with Easter in Africa?
One common tradition is for Christians to wear black clothing on Good Friday's church service, in order to mourn the death of Jesus. Then, on Easter Sunday, many will switch to wearing white clothes, which symbolizes the resurrection. Others prefer to wear their best clothes throughout the Easter season, with some putting on African traditional dresses.
Prior to the Easter church services, some Christians decorate their churches with traditional clothes and images of Jesus' death and resurrection. This helps to create a powerful and evocative atmosphere in which to celebrate this special time of year.
Easter is a time of giving and helping those in need, and this Easter tradition is especially prevalent in Africa. Every Easter, people from all walks of life donate Easter gifts to disadvantaged women and children. These gifts can be anything from books and clothes to Easter eggs. This act of giving not only helps to improve the lives of those who receive the gifts, but it also brings the Easter spirit to the whole community.
One of the most popular Easter traditions is to travel to the beach, for both devout Christians and non-religious people alike. The warm weather in March and April makes it the perfect time to enjoy the African sun and sand. Friends and families often spend the long Easter weekend at the beach, enjoying the water and spending time together.
Easter is a time to come together and feast. The type of food that is served varies by region, but there are some common staples. One popular dish is fufu, which is made from cassava or yams and often served with soup or stew. Another Easter favorite is ugali, a thick porridge made from cornmeal. Easter would not be complete without dessert, and many African countries serve something sweet like akara (fried bean fritters) or kola nut pudding. No matter what is on the menu, Easter feasts in Africa are a time to enjoy good food and company.
Just as in the west, eggs are still a popular object used to celebrate Easter in Africa. But did you know that the ancient origins of Easter Eggs are native to Africa? The earliest findings of decorated, engraved ostrich eggs were found in Africa and are over 60,000 years old. Representations of ostrich eggs in gold and silver were often placed in graves of the ancient Sumerians and Egyptians. Many African tribes also used eggshells to make bracelets, necklaces, and other jewelry.
This practice has taken on a more modern (and similar to what we are familiar with) approach where eggs are decorated with bright colors and hidden for children to find at Easter Time. Although, in Africa, the “Easter Bunny” is mostly irrelevant.
Easter is a special time of year for many people, and in Africa, it's no different. Whether it's going to church, spending time with family, or taking part in traditional ceremonies, Easter is a time for Africans to connect with their community. We hope you have the time and space to create some special memories with your own family this Easter!