Monday, 15 December 2008

Christmas: View out of Ghana

In Sweden, as the year draws closer to Christmas, it gets darker and colder by the day. Naturally, the social life adapts as well. From being out and about in the summer, come Christmas time we mostly hang out at home, with a few candles lit in a cosy atmosphere. This is spiced up with occasional outings to julbord i.e. Chrismas smorgasbord (did you know smorgasbord is a Swedish word?), Lucia celebration and a movie premiere on Christmas Day.

In Ghana, Christmas is very much the holiday season in every sense of the word. This is the time when Ghanaians living abroad come to visit, friends from other countries pass by, and most people get a few days off work. When better to be hanging out at bars around town, clubbing at Cinderellas or Monte Carlo and spending days at the beach, Bojo beach, Kokrobite or Labadi if you want to stay in town.

For me, the best part of Christmas in Ghana is the lack of materialism. Nobody really talks about presents or expects them, except maybe those of us who beg for magazines, Mac products and Ferrero Rocher in exchange for guiding those who come to visit! However this year, I realised I will have to find presents for a few people: our house-help and the two kids who live with their father in the boys quarters. (*Boys quarters = smaller house found on most compounds, built for housing house-help and in many modern cases turned into guest houses). Isn’t it funny that the ones I’ll be buying gifts for fall quite low on the list of people I care for, but they’ll probably appreciate the gifts more than most of my nearest and dearest.

Apart from the clubbing, beach-bumming and hotel-breakfasts, at Christmas time there’s always at least one super-duper expensive wedding to go to (usually a couple living “outside” who’ve come to Ghana to have the Hollywood wedding they could never afford abroad) and barbecues all over the place. I think on my busiest barbecue day I managed to make it to one in Nyaniba Estates, one in Legon and then quickly drive up to Aburi to make it to the end of the third one. Hard work, but a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do!

Is it me or do less people die around this time? Just don’t remember going to funerals at Christmas, they seem to have their own peak season around April (how morbid!). Either way, it suits me just fine as the season remains cheerful even though Christmas is hardly mentioned at all. The outsiders have come in with a cheery mood and pound sterling or green Franklins and us living here are just happy about our days off and a bit of extra action, together we blend to make one happy, social, partying crowd!

Of course as mentioned earlier, thanks to the Grinch known as EC-CC (Electoral Commission-Credit Crunch), none of that will happen this year. Bitter? Me? Noooo!


Nana Yaw Asiedu said...

Very funny and backhanded. I believe that people die around this time. Families just postpone the funeral till the new year, no?

Yngvild said...

Will u stop that Christmas is over-thing??? :)

Maya said...

Ah yes, Nana Yaw, I guess it's a matter of not spoiling the season of Jesus' birth with death, so the funerals are pushed forward to January.

Maya said...

Sorry Yngvild! I know I promised to stop, but I guess you can see what a miserable cow I am! (and your lovely pictures are only making me more jealous ;) )

From now on - no more "Christmas is over" talk, promise!

novisi said...


definitely used to be some fun time for my kid self...

now i really wonder what it means!

all the same there is enough space for everything under the sun!

so let's have it!

Maya said...

Yes Novisi, I agree, Christmas has at times been so much fun. I'm all for reclaiming it...but now I doubt there's enough time to get into the right mood!

Somehow I'm sure we can find a way to still have a blast though!


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