How to Say “Merry Christmas” in 22 African Languages

GOLD - Christmas Reindeer

Christmas Day is the most celebrated holiday in the world. It is a time when friends and family come together. From country to country, festivities and rituals include everything from holly to mistletoe, eggnog, fairy lights, and a jolly fat, bearded man in a red suit. Here in Africa, Christmas is a little less snow and more long lazy days in the sun, filled with food and sharing between families and communities alike. Although Christmas this year may look a little different, if you do happen to find yourself in the Motherland this festive season, here are a few ways to say “Merry Christmas” to the locals!


Afrikaans (South Africa): Geseënde Kersfees

Akan (Ghana, Ivory Coast, Benin): Afishapa

Amharic (Ethiopia): Melikam Gena

Chewa (Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe): Moni Wa Chikondwelero Cha Kristmasi

Dagbani (Ghana): Ni ti Burunya Chou

Edo (Nigeria): Iselogbe

Fula/Fulani (Niger, Nigeria, Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Sudan, Togo, Guinea, Sierra Leone): Jabbama be salla Kirismati

Hausa (Niger, Nigeria, Ghana, Benin, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Togo): Barka dà Kirsimati

Ibibio (Nigeria): Idara ukapade isua

Igbo / Ido (Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea): E keresimesi Oma

Kinyarwanda (Rwanda, Uganda, Democratic Republic of the Congo): Noheli nziza

Lingala (Democratic Republic of the Congo, Central African Republic, Angola): Mbotama Malamu

Luganda (Uganda): Seku Kulu

Ndebele (Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Botswana): Izilokotho Ezihle Zamaholdeni

Shona (Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Botswana): Muve neKisimusi

Somali (Somalia, Djibouti): Kirismas Wacan

Sotho (Lesotho, South Africa): Le be le keresmese e monate

Swahili (Tanzania, Kenya, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda): Krismasi Njema / Heri ya Krismasi

Tigrinya (Ethiopia and Eritreia): Ruhus Beal Lidet

Xhosa / isiXhosa (South Africa, Zimbabwe, Lesotho): Krismesi emnandi

Yoruba (Nigeria, Benin): E ku odun, e ku iye’dun

Zulu (South Africa, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland): Jabulela Ukhisimusi

While English is an official language in certain African countries, more than 2,000 languages are spoken throughout the continent. As a first time visitor to an African country learning a local language isn’t critical. However, making an effort to learn a handful of greetings and phrases – including festive wishes – will almost certainly be rewarded with a warm and appreciative smile.

Merry Christmas from all of us here at GOLD Restaurant!

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