Eating Christmas In Uganda: A Blast From The Past

By • Dec 18th, 2012 • Category: Christmas, Featured Post

Is this what Christmas has come to? Meaningless promotions and lousy decorations? If you remembered the real Christmas from way back, you’d understand why Museveni insists he’s still a teenager. Anyone would want to stay stuck in the past.



It’s upsetting how kids these days parade Coke & Pepsi so casually like bad breath. Back then, if you saw a crate of soda being transported on a bike, you didn’t need to look at a calendar to know it was Christmas. Drinking soda was done as a celebration of big events. Now people drink sodas to celebrate opening the soda bottle.


Where’s the good old cotton wool and toilet paper? Almost all households spent the first ten days of December falling sick so they could visit hospitals and secure some cotton snowflakes.

Others feigned food poisoning and diarrhoea outbreaks to buy different shades of toilet paper without being judged because money wasn’t wasted on wreaths and ribbons. Toilet paper was Christmas paper.

And since when do people buy Christmas trees? In the spirit of giving and receiving, we stole Christmas trees from neighbours’ compounds. No, it wasn’t theft. It was the improved spirit of sharing. Only without involving the giver because we thought they had better things to do than be present during their display of generosity.


Those who frowned upon the improved spirit of sharing resorted to combing their neighbourhoods for people who had Christmas trees for fences, and sending them subtle friend requests through the occasional I-just-dropped-by-to-say-hello and food gifts. Then they pounced around December 21st and feigned ignorance with “Wamma I heard you have Christmas trees?”


Some things were written in stone. Like I didn’t know Christmas carols were songs sang for Christmas. I thought it was a term used to mean songs sang by Boney M or Philly Lutaaya. And I liked it that way. Now over six hundred musicians can claim they sang ‘Jingle Bells’ and all of them will win the case.


Herein lies one of the few surviving traditions. You had to eat a piece of everything that was cooked on Christmas day. And we cooked almost everything in the house; goats, chickens, cows, rice, sofas, carpets, brooms…everything. Then you showed your appreciation by belching. From both sides.



We spent the last hours of Christmas day walking aimlessly around town mostly because we wanted our new Christmas clothes to be seen. Then we entered discotheques and danced off the food with 30-minute Lingala songs. At the end of the song, you were hungry again and you went back to eat some more. Now all you hear in club is Chris Brown telling you to climb from wall to wall. Dude, I’ve just eaten everything in the house. How am I supposed to climb walls?

Shame on Christmas today.


Liking this article is what happens to cool people

  • Gusto

    Full of nostalgia

  • Fatiha Taban

    Nostalgia, someone take me back

  • Yekoz

    Forgot to mention how animals of all ‘tribes’ especially cows, had to ‘fall’ for the ‘mothers of all feasts’, the feeding ad nauseam, the once-in-a-year church going types & the family reunions.