Christmas in Ghana

christmas in ghana Christmas in Ghana is a special occasion for both Christians and non-Christians, with celebrations centered around large family gatherings and feasts.

christmas in ghana meal

For Christians, however, the most important message – the birth of Christ – is the focus, and church activities are never absent from the program.

By the middle of December, the tone is set and the atmosphere is created for celebration as Christmas carols are played in homes, shops, private cars, public buses and taxis. People choose favorite carols as ringtones for their cell phones. Brightly colored paper and ornaments pinned up throughout the houses set a cheery mood for the festivities.

Many families decorate trees growing in their courtyards, using multi-colored light bulbs. Some families bring a single tree branch into their houses and decorate it with lights and ornaments. These days, however, this custom is being replaced with imported, artificial Christmas trees.

Everyday greetings change from the usual “Good morning” and “Good afternoon” to “Afishiapa,” meaning Merry Christmas or Happy New Year. Business booms for traders as parents shop for clothing, shoes, food and beverages for their families.

By December 20, companies and organizations go on break so their workers can be with their families and travel to their hometowns.

By December 24, the official beginning of Christmas in Ghana, bus stations are filled to capacity with last-minute travelers who want to be with their families on Christmas Day. Travel fares increase, since commuters have no choice but to travel.

On the night of December 24, most churches hold Carols Night church services. These services are occasions to sing Christmas hymns and carols. Bible readings are based on scriptures that talk about the announcement and birth of the Christ. Youth groups perform plays depicting the story of the birth of Jesus. Their performances also feature choreography, recitals and other features that make the night a memorable one.

About a week or two prior to the Carols Night service, some churches distribute special Thanksgiving envelopes to their congregations. Money put into these envelopes is meant to give thanks to God for all He has done throughout the year. The people bring their envelopes to the Carols Night service, and the donated money is used to buy items such as cookies, beverages, clothing and food for poor and needy families.

On December 25, unless the day falls on a Sunday, many churches do not hold another service. Churches that have services on Christmas Day hold them mid-morning. Otherwise, the day is mostly for family and friends to feast and exchange gifts.

christmas in ghana clothing exchange

Christmas brings a lot of joy to children, who look forward to getting new clothes and shoes. They also expect to eat specially-prepared meals. Even regular meals are made more special by adding other ingredients to enhance the taste for Christmas.

The favorite meals children crave at Christmas are rice dishes with chicken stew and beverages of sweet drinks. Adults sometimes prefer peanut butter soup with mutton and fufu (a mixture of pounded cassava and plantains) or banku (corn dough meal), grilled tilapia with hot ground pepper, or banku with okra stew.

The celebration continues through December 26, which is called Boxing (Parceling) Day and is a public holiday in Ghana. It is on this day that families exchange gifts of cooked foods, drinks, cookies and candies.

The next day, the 27th, is when people return to work until the holidays of New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

9 Comments |Add a comment

  1. Ellis L. Marsalis, Jr December 11, 2018

    I am from New Orleans. I am also a Jazz musician. I have been considering a visit to Ghana for a while. Reading about Christmas in Ghana is very inspiring. I send a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and lots of love to all Ghanians, adults and children.
    Ellis L. Marsalis, Jr

    1. Christina December 11, 2018

      Hi Ellis! Thank you so much for your kind words for the amazing people in Ghana! I hope you’re able to visit Ghana someday!

  2. Hermione Pritt-Ellison November 13, 2018

    I think that it is amazing that you all would like to go to ghana I am doing a Christmas report on that country

  3. Patrick October 10, 2016

    Hi I would like to know more Ghana. I’m thinking off going for two weeks I. December..for see a friend..I’m from Ireland.thank you…

    1. Christina Wilson October 10, 2016

      Hi Patrick! To learn more about Compassion in Ghana, please visit You can also learn more about visiting your sponsored child in Ghana by visiting Traveling to another country is exciting and a wonderful experience! Please let us know if you have any further questions!

  4. Chris September 29, 2014

    I would like to see more articles about the gifts children and families are able to receive with birthday and family gifts. They are so encouraging!

    1. Susan Sayler September 29, 2014

      Hi Chris! Thank you for the suggestion and the encouragement! We will certainly look into including more articles on this subject!

  5. Emily December 21, 2013

    Thank you for sharing this glimpse into Christmas in Ghana. I have 11 sponsored and correspondent children in Ghana. God has lead my heart to this country. I like learning more about their culture and what their experiences in the Child Development Centers. I like how much focus is on family and friends with the days that are off for working to spend time together. I asked my kids this year what their favorite Christmas activity is in their Christmas cards.

  6. Kathy December 20, 2013

    This is awesome! Do more like this! How about Christmas in Tanzania or Christmas in Honduras? 😀

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