Christians in Ghana are joining their counterparts across the globe to celebrate Christmas, an annual festival to remember the birth of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whose teachings form the basis of their faith.
Christmas, which means “Mass on Christ’s Day or Christ-mass”, is observed on December 25 as a religious, cultural and secular celebration among billions of people.
Though the activities vary across the world, there are common themes on Salvation, Hope, Giving, Peace, Love, Light and Joy, to reflect the teachings and nature of Christ Jesus.
Some historians trace the origin of the celebration on December 25, to the 4th Century AD, under Pope Julius I of Roman Catholic Church.
In Ghana, the holiday is commonly marked with church services,
family get-togethers, exchange of gifts, donations to the needy, parties, concerts and other entertaining events.
Some celebrants decorate their homes, offices and communities with symbolic ornaments, such as evergreen trees, holly, candle lights, fir wreathes, bells, balloons and twinkle lights, to reflect their high spirits.
The colours of Christmas are typically green and red, while Santa Claus plays a cardinal role to highlight the essence of giving.
According to information sourced from crosswalk.com, the “Evergreen Tree” is a symbol of eternal life; “Candle lights ” represent a picture that Christ is the Light of the world; “Holly” speaks of the thorns in the crown of Christ, while Red” as a colour of Christmas, speaks of Christ’s blood and death.The “Gifts” are a reminder of the gifts of the Magi to the Baby
Each of them speaks to a component of His incarnation -Majesty in Life; Bitterest Agony in Death; and He, as God’s perfect gift to humanity.
The “Bells” are associated with ringing out news, or Christ being the good news for Christians.
Christmas services and activities are mostly enjoyed with Carols, such as the “Silent Night”; “Mary’s Boy Child”; “Oh Christmas Tree; “Oh Holy Night”; “The First Noel”, “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”; and “Joy to the World”.
Choral music, scripture readings readings on the story of the Messiah, choreography and the re-enactment of of the nativity are special features.
However, in the Greek and Russian orthodox churches, Christmas is celebrated 13 to 14 days after the 25th, because they use the Julian calendar, which is behind the Gregorian calendar by days, used by the Western churches.
The ancient traditional celebration of Christmas, also varied worldwide with some very interesting features.
In the Czech Republic, a woman would put her back to the house door and throw a shoe over her shoulders on Christmas Eve. If the shoe landed with the heel towards the door, then she might as well cancel her Tinder account and buy up some more cats.
But, if the front of the shoe pointed to the door, then she would kiss her parents goodbye and get to plan a wedding.
The Norway, witnessed brooms, and similar cleaning items, hidden away, while men fired their guns into the night on Christmas Eve.
According to ancient belief, this was primetime for witches and evil spirits to emerge.
Some Armenians fast a week to Christmas, and then break the fast with a light Christmas Eve meal called “khetum,” which include rice, fish, chickpeas, yogurt soup, dried nuts and grape jelly desserts.
Ukrainians, on the other hand, use fake spider webs to cover their trees, with the hope that it would bring them luck to be prosperous and never have a financial woe for the next year.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Christmas eve, urged strict adherence to the COVID-19 protocols and vaccination during the yuletide in a national televised message.
He asked the citizens to celebrate responsibly and reach out to the needy and less privileged.
The President noted that, 2021 was a tough year for everyone and economies workwide due to the pandemic and optimistic that 2022 and 2023 would be years of recovery and revitalisation of the Ghanaian economy for faster growth.