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. If you find yourself in the Motherland this festive season, here are a few ways to say “Merry Christmas” to the locals!

GOLD-Christmas-Reindeer

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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