Harvest Hands International - Building Communities for Jesus

What Christmas is like in Uganda  

Written by Emily Embabazi

Christmas is an annual festive season that falls on December 25th and celebrates the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ as mentioned in the Gospels of Luke and Matthew. According to Uganda’s many cultures and tribes, Christmas is called different names. But in our tribe, we call it Ekirokikulu. The Christmas holiday begins as early as December 20th and ends on the 27th. On the 23th, most people work half day and shops are open until the 24th but the Christmas period is from 24th to 26th of December.  During that time of the year, the weather is quite different. Instead of white, snowy scenery, it is rainy or a lot of sunshine.

As we know Christmas is one of the biggest holidays celebrated in the whole world, it’s celebrated mostly with the loved ones making it a family day. People often travel long distance to be together with their families. People plan several activities ahead of this day. Going Christmas carol singing on Christmas Eve is very popular in towns and villages. At the end of each performance, the singers are generally given money that is later used in churches. Christmas tree decorating and gift giving are not so popular. The only gift we can give is to invitepeople for lunch.

Speaking of lunch, the real holiday cooking starts on Christmas Eve. A variety of foods are considered special at this time of year, especially those that are not usually used. For example; chicken, beef, rice, cake and many more.

Those families that can afford to will buy a set of clothing for their children and themselves, so you will see most children walking around on Christmas Day showing off their new clothing. It is a big deal to them to have new clothes, since it may be the only set of new clothes they get for the year. 

The morning of Christmas, the churches are filled to capacity. Even people who never go to church do attend on this day. The church services usually go for 3-4 hours. People get to wear their new attire for the day to show off, especially the women. Lunch comes after the church services. Immediately after that, people either relax, visit family and friends or go for a trip.

Boxing Day is also a public holiday. There are church services on this day but not as busy as on Christmas Day and again people like to be 'out and about' having a good time.

I want to wish all of you a Merry Christmas. May you celebrate the true meaning of Christmas. Jesus came to earth to set us free from the bondage of sin. Remember that the celebration is not about the gifts you receive, it’s about the ‘GIFT’ God gave us. I thank God for that Gift.


Mission Statement

Harvest Hand’s mission is to work with people that are disadvantaged and vulnerable, putting Jesus at the centre of the work, and forming partnerships, programs, projects and small business enterprises which transform local communities to provide for themselves and give witness to God’s love and presence.


Get Involved

Follow Us Online