In 2021, IBEC has been blessed to have clients and partners in more than 25 countries. Many of these countries have Christmas traditions, some of which are nation-wide, others are regional depending on the reach of the Gospel of Jesus and his miraculous birth. Did you know? …
- In Kenya, Santa is depicted as arriving on a camel or bike instead of a sleigh.
- In Ethiopia, they celebrate Christmas on January 7th as the Coptic Christians follow the older Julian calendar.
- In rural Uganda, the whole community assembles wearing new clothes and eat their favorite, Matooke, made from green banana leaves and bananas. Meat and rice complete the meal, after which they sing hymns and play games.
- In the Philippines, Christmas day is a family affair with visits to family homes. Many places re-enact the journey of Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem.
- In Romania, the Advent season is about seven weeks, starting in mid-November. On Christmas eve, it is traditional for children to go around town singing carols while the parents bake cookies for them.
- Kazakhstan is mainly Islamic, but Orthodox Christians have rich traditions with the festivities having unique regional differences, like covering their dinner tables with straw (celebrating baby Jesus). Some even go around all day asking forgiveness of one another.
- Nepal prides itself in it respect for diversity. Even though Christians are less than 2% of the population, Christmas is a holiday on December 25.
- Christmas food in Bangladesh may include ‘pitha’ (sweet rice cakes made of rice flour, milk, coconut, and molasses) and ‘payesh’ (rice pudding). The country carries a Muslim majority, but Christmas is an important holiday and includes the ‘love feast’.
- Colombia is famous for its Christmas lighting which transforms most communities. Special foods include natilla and bunuelos.
But what about countries in the middle east, or where public Christmas celebrations are forbidden? IBEC coaches and consultants work in some of those countries too. We do so because we love Jesus and we love others (creating jobs is representative of loving our neighbor where injustices, poverty, and slavery exist). We seek to bring the truth of the Gospel to everyone we touch. Pray for more places on earth to know the real truths of this season and to begin following the Christ of Christmas.
Larry W. Sharp, BAM Support Specialist, IBEC Ventures