15 December: Christmas is a colourful combination of religious and secular practices

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Kenneth Toah Nsah, PhD Student at the School of Communication and Culture, is from Cameroun. He celebrates Christmas with Cameroonian friends and families

2019.12.15 | Anna Bech Sørensen

Graphics: Astrid Reitzel

The Omnibus Advent Calendar:

The Advent calendar is a treasured Danish Christmas tradition. In many families, kids get to open a small gift each day all December until Christmas Eve, when Christmas is celebrated.

Our small holiday gift to you is a chance to meet one of AU’s many international students and employees every day until Christmas.

All 24 will share where they’re spending Christmas this year, their favorite (and least favorite) Christmas traditions from their home countries,  and what’s most annoying – or surprising – about Christmas in Denmark.

How are you going to celebrate Christmas this year?

This year, I will join other Cameroonian friends and families to celebrate Christmas. It will be an occasion to commune and share Cameroonian delicacies, drink, chat, and dance. After attending church to pray, of course. It is after all a religious feast which reminds me/us of the redeeming birth and death of Christ Jesus. 

What is the best/worst Christmas tradition from your home country?

The best Christmas tradition in Cameroon, my home country, is the colourful combination of religious and secular practices in the Christmas season. In the villages, Christmas and New Year constitute a memorable period for family reunions and festivities, with each family excited to receive their people from the cities and even abroad. Specifically, on Christmas Eve, Christians attend mass or service while bars are open, with sweet music, for non-Christians or nominal ones. 

On Christmas Day, Christians go back to church before returning to feast at home with non-Christians and even Muslims. This involves the cooking of so many delicacies, as varied as the over 250 ethnic communities in Cameroon. In my Mbesa community, for instance, we cook food such as corn fufu and njamanjama (vegetables), pounded yams, rice and stew, jollof rice, corn chaff, etc. accompanied with meat, sheep, goat, chicken, fish, and so forth. Wines, whiskeys, and local drinks such as palm wine and nkang (corn beer) are shared. Sometimes children are sent with food to visit family relations. During the day, children gather and celebrate in public places. As night approaches, adults go to the bars for more enjoyment. Celebrations continue well into Boxing Day - December 26th. In the cities, streets and neighborhoods are decorated with Christmas flowers, palm fronds, and special lights. Similar activities like those in the villages take place. 

What do you think is most annoying about Danish Christmas?

So far, I do not remember any annoying thing about Christmas in Denmark. On the contrary, I like the decorations and bells here. And I enjoy Danish Christmas delicacies, especially the special drink called gløgg. Except that Christmas is a little more individual and personal here.

Isangle ibeu ne Wain Feyin!

The Omnibus Advent Calendar:

The Advent calendar is a treasured Danish Christmas tradition. In many families, kids get to open a small gift each day all December until Christmas Eve, when Christmas is celebrated.

Our small holiday gift to you is a chance to meet one of AU’s many international students and employees every day until Christmas.

All 24 will share where they’re spending Christmas this year, their favorite (and least favorite) Christmas traditions from their home countries,  and what’s most annoying – or surprising – about Christmas in Denmark.

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