The meaning of Christmas and how it is celebrated by Ghanaians

Christians in Ghana have joined 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.

In his Christmas message to the nation, President Akufo-Addo urged celebrants to observe the COVID-19 hygiene and safety protocols to contain the spread of the virus, especially the Omicron variant.

Drivers should also observe road traffic regulations to prevent road crashes.

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 the 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 wreaths, 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.

Many have taken to social media to share customised and common goodwill messages, expressing their contentment for being part of the season and appreciating God and their loved ones for making that possible.

According to information sourced from crosswalk.com, the “Evergreen Tree” is a symbol of eternal life; “Candlelights” 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 Jesus.

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 on the story of the Messiah, choreography, and the reenactment of the nativity are special features across the world.