June 15, 2024

December Delights: Exploring the Joyful Festivities and Traditions in Nigeria



By: JP Ashedzi


In Nigeria, the Ember period usually comes in with a different feel in the air. From the atmosphere which moves from the rainy season to the dry which ultimately and simultaneously ushers in the harmattan season, to the general anticipation of a new year.


However, the crescendo of the Ember period is a particular month that brings delight to the hearts of everyone. The month of December brings in many festivities, most especially the Yuletide seasons.


The month called December can comically be synonymous with Christmas for many and for others, it is a gateway to the New Year and as such, everyone is frequently upbeat when the month comes around. The month of December is a time set aside for rest, most people take out time in December to visit loved ones, take vacation trips and ‘spoil’ themselves after the stress of the previous eleven months.


Christmas on its own, however, is celebrated in different ways. Christmas Day is a public holiday. It is a day off for the general population, and schools and most businesses are closed.


Christmas is a time for those who have moved to the cities to return to their ancestral villages on Christmas Day.


The relatives back home demand gifts from the city slickers following the celebrations, which are often given in the form of money or elaborately wrapped gifts.


There is always a lot of anticipation for the Yuletide season, and this tends to create a tense atmosphere with high expectations from people.


Most parents start running around to buy the popular “Christmas clothes” for their children, get the best offers for the juiciest meats and meals, and also find other ways to entertain their guests on the special day.


The new clothes, gifts, travels, and best foods that come with the season makes working hard for the season worth it at the end of the day. But this anticipation hasn’t taken out the fact that the year 2023 for most Nigerians has been particularly difficult in terms of the economy.


Recall that during the celebrations of Christmas as at last year, the average amount for a bag of rice was between twenty-four to thirty-two thousand Naira. But today, as at the time of this publication, a bag of rice in Nigeria is nothing beneath fifty thousand Naira.


What this implies for the average Nigerian parent is that there is the need to work twice as much as last year or opt to feed the family less than last year.


This particular Yuletide season, although it is coming with the usual anticipation, there is an added weight that comes with the responsibility of this particular season. Parents are thrown into a frenzy as once again that period of high expectations from the kids and family members is fast approaching.


The truth of the moment is that the economy is unfavourable; hence, parents have to find a way to create a balance. So that both them and their children can come to an agreement.


Individuals, more so, have to be reasonable enough to make arrangements for extended family members.


The economy has gotten to the point where every one’s budget has doubled while the quantity has reduced. You get less for more now, and it is saddening. As aforementioned, the bag of rice is one example out of hundreds, as even the tiniest bit of raw foodstuff is almost triple its former prices.


A brief survey of how much onions used to cost is more than enough to kick the lid off anyone, pepper (rodo) now costs an arm to purchase.


But the state of the economy should not take out the joy of the season. One should endeavor to keep the season burning with the usual fervor. Reach for what you can get and let the season do the rest. Let our joy as Nigerians rub off on ourselves, it is generally believed that when you’re cold, if you rub your skin on another person, you’ll get warm. Let us endeavor to keep each other’s hearts warm this period.


Merry Christmas in advance.

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