CHRISTMAS IN ZIMBABWE
Hallo and welcome back + Big smile (I wanted to type “+ Big Hug”, but I’m not really a fan of hugs.)
Christmas is here! Let’s find out how Zimbabweans celebrate this holiday.
Before we get started, let’s learn a few new Shona words we use:
Kisimusi bhokisi – The Zimbabwean way of saying Merry Christmas.
Ps. I find it rather uncool and horribly annoying. I have never and will never use that phrase. You can use it if you want.
Ko matiigirei – What did you bring for us?
Zvikufaya – I’m having a good time.
Bhudhi / Sisi– Brother / Sister
Kuhle - Uncle
Maiguru/Mainini - Aunt
LET US START WITH THE BASICS
I’m talking about the average Zimbabwean family. Of course there are some families with a heavy western influence, and these will obviously treat this holiday differently.
If you are a Zimbabwean in the diaspora heading to Zim for the holidays, then make sure you buy a little something for your family in Zim. Because… when you get home, the first question you’ll be asked (directly or indirectly. Us Zimbabweans are very good at asking questions indirectly) is Ko Matiigirei?
So how do we celebrate the day?
Well we wake up (obviously), and then it’s time to bath – because the housework was already done yesterday, and the cooking too. We wear our very special clothes that our relative from England/South Africa bought for us (everyone has a relative from England/South Africa). We then have breakfast, and then rush to clear the dishes and get our Bibles. It is time to go to church. The first thing we do is to say Kisimusi Bhokisi. After this, it’s time to play the Christmas game and here’s how it goes:
Pretend to greet everyone – the true intention is to show off your clothes from England/South Africa. If no one comments about how smart you are then you have failed! You must get at least one compliment, and then explain how your Bhudhi, Sisi, Kuhle, Or Maiguru/Mainini got the item just for you. Oh and you must remember to explain how expensive it is and how even the Caucasians can’t afford to buy it to show how special it is.
After that we take out our latest phones that were bought for us – just to show off. (Yes in Zim we show off a lot. I’m not saying it’s good but hey – that’s what happens).
The service ends then we go home. We FEAST! All that food that we didn’t get to eat during the year gets eaten on Christmas day.
After that we go to home and cry all night because our bellies will be so full that they will be hurting and we won’t be able to sleep.
How is Christmas in Zim different from Christmas in other countries?
Well for starters, the event is mainly based around Christ here (not Santa Claus) - as I mentioned in a previous post we Zimbabweans are highly religious. Christmas is all about how Jesus died and we get to celebrate how he redeemed us from sin (Well, I find this concept to be horribly wrong because the dates are wrong, the true origin of Christmas has nothing to do with Christ, but that’s not the point… let’s move on).
We don’t have Christmas trees in the house or those really big Socks….
Neither do we spend all night waiting for Santa to come. That’s stuff we see in the movies and wonder what’s wrong with Westerners.
And that standing under the mistletoe thing…Not in Zim. (Most don’t even know what a mistletoe is).
*Of course drunkards party like crazy on Christmas, and a lot of events happen.
*And we do have Christmas decorations in shops + Christmas Trees + A guy wearing “Santa’s” clothes
What if I don’t believe in Christmas?
Well that depends on exactly what you don’t believe in. If you don’t believe in Santa, then Zimbabwe should be your new home…unless if you hang out with families with a heavy western influence (the term we use to describe such families is “families ane chirungu”). In that case, poor you.
If you don’t believe in the concept of Christmas because it is just wrong (not that I’m saying it really is. Google…), well you might not really enjoy the day.
I feel like buying a Christmas gift. What can I buy for my Zimbabwean friends/relatives?
Well, food is always welcome. Have a look atthis article in which I made a comprehensive list of what you can buy.
And.. you can never go wrong with buying your friends a good watch. I’ve never seen anyone complaining about getting the wrong watch. Just get one that suits the personality of the person (i.e. classical vs electronic vs smartwatch).
And that brings us to the end of the article. Happy holidays!
How do you celebrate Christmas? Leave a comment Below!
Just feel like saying Hi? Well go ahead, I don’t bite : ) I’m available on:
Twitter @ maputiatota
Peace be with you. See you next week! (You see! I keep my promises).