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Celebrating Christmas the Rwandan Way

by Jean de la Croix Tabaro
10:24 am

Merry Christmas. It’s Christmas in Kigali, the capital city of a secular state whose citizen is however predominantly Christian- it is estimated that more than 80% of the citizen belong to a Christian church in Rwanda.

This tells the rest; Christmas is the most celebrated day in the country of a thousand hills – Rwanda.

The first thing that comes in every mind of a Rwandan when they prepare Christmas is something ‘material’-what shall we eat, what shall we wear, what shall we drink?’

The last minute shopping tells it all; it is a competition to buy the best meat, the best irish potatoes, beans, banana, to mention a few among the favorite food of the country.

A Bar in Muhanga readies the ladies who will serve clients

Of course, many Rwandans in remote areas will save the whole year to eat plenty of meat only on Christmas and if they are blessed enough, on New Year, too.

For this reason, you will always be warned never to buy food in a Rwandan market some four – to five days before Christmas because the hike of prices is compulsory.

Of course, storage capacity obliges Rwandans to buy until the last minute the perishables.

Pubs have to get prepared so that they do not disappoint clients who come in big numbers on Christmas.

The second priority is for Rwandans including Christians, unfortunately, the church, ‘to thank God because he has given us a son’. The preacher will, in most churches, try and be as brief as possible so as to allow the congregation to return home to enjoy to the fullest.

Invitations are many on Christmas; it is allowed for any passer-by to ask whoever they meet “give me Christmas.”

For parents however, when they go back home, the idea is to first serve the child. And the same applies to well wishers.

Several charity organisations, individual Samaritans look at Christmas in the window of children. For that reason, several people organize banquet on behalf of children.

The main focus is children from vulnerable families, orphans, street children, to mention but a few.

This should also be mentioned; friends want to schedule their events on Christmas; proposing to a girl, giving a friend a cow-a symbol of prosperity in Rwandan culture, marrying their son, to mention but a few.



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