Christmas celebrations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Christmas in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Christmas in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is more of a religious festival rather than being commercial. Most people won’t have any presents.

Christmas Eve is very important with Churches having big musical evenings (many churches have at least 5 or 6 choirs) and a nativity play. These plays last a very long time. They start at the beginning of the evening with the creation and the Garden of Eden and end with the story of King Herod killing the baby boys.

In general, in almost all the tribes of the DRC, Christmas and the festive season is prepared for well in advance during the year. Some families will buy small chickens or goats and raise them so that at Christmas they are be big enough to be eaten. Mothers and fathers can be heard to say: “ Oyo eza soso dubien taba ya bonane ” (Lingala) which, translated, is “This is the Christmas or New Year’s chicken or goat!” poor, do their best to buy new clothes or toys for their children. Even poor families, who may not have the opportunity to have meat or chicken for their children during the year, do their best to have these things for Christmas Day and New Year’s Day as well. Food in general, and chicken, meat and also clothes in particular, become very expensive during the Christmas season.
Many churches organize long church services on Christmas Eve, with musical evenings (with up to five or six choirs) and nativity plays. These plays may start at the creation and the Garden of Eden, and end with Herod killing the baby boys. This period is really family time and is a very noisy and lively time of year.
You will hear music and laughter, and see many well-dressed children out in the streets, playing or walking. Everybody is in a joyous mood and families come together and feast together.
‘He was born so I can live with my family forever.’
‘He was born so I can live with my family forever.’
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