As the year comes to an end, most people are starting to think, or have already planned what to do for the festive season, and no one loves and celebrates the festive season better than Zimbabweans (Africans in general). Beginning November 15 till January 15 there is all good cheer throughout the country. There are celebrations all around the cities, including end of year work parties, welcome back parties-celebrating family members from abroad- lots of weddings and the actual Christmas day. The list is endless but NOT pointless. Most corporate businesses and offices are closed from the 24th of December till 6th of January, leaving more than enough time to fully soak in all the holiday cheer with extra time to recover and prepare for the new year. For a week and a half, business-as-we-know-it is slower than usual, with only restaurants, shopping malls, grocery stores and all entertainment facilities buzzing.
Here, we’ll walk you through some of the ways people choose to spend their time during the festive season in Zimbabwe.
Going to the village to see and spend time with family:
Although over 50% of the population lives in the 2 capitals and other large cities, many Zimbabweans still have very close ties to their villages of origin. People pack up and load their cars or buses heading to all their different villages. The drive alone is filled with so much excitement with some people driving for over 5 hours-it’s a classic roadtrip- family music, eating, laughing and pitt stops (which may include some dancing on the side of the highway).
Usually, all family members gather together, and there can sometimes be almost 20-30 people all under one roof. On Christmas day, a cow, goat or chicken are slaughtered to be feasted in a celebratory spirit, and no one holds back on servings. The whole family including the extended families come together to feast, dance and make lots of memories. Guests are always welcome and can arrive at any moment without any notice and in the Christmas spirit-no one is turned away.
Going away on vacation:
Here is the exciting part, going away with your family to our beautiful hotels, lodges, camping sites and cruises are a sure way to make the festive season count. Zimbabwe is home to one of the 7 Wonders of the world- the Victoria Falls, and this is always a top destination during the holidays. Masvingo, Kariba, Nyanga, Mutare are also fantastic cities all with great hotels and immaculate scenery and it is worth the holiday anticipation. The Gonarezhou, Chinmanimani Mountains, Mana pools National parks, all give a unique experience of travelling around the country during this season.
Braai, braai and more braai.
Most people might know this as a BBQ, but in Zimbabwe it is referred to as a braai (BBQ is just a sauce). There are braais going on everywhere and anywhere throughout the year, but a little more during this season. Whether it is at a colleagues home, close family, or lake-side, it really does not matter. During this season you can feel free to just throw a party for no reason at all and no one will ask you twice. The butcheries and grocery stores factor this in by making what are called ‘Braai Packs’ consisting of pork chop, borewors sausage, drumsticks and a perfectly tender slab of beef ready to be marinated or thrown straight on the braai-stand.
Zimbabwes weather during the last few months of the year range between 24-35 degrees celcius, making it perfect weather to be pool-side or lake-side with good company and a cold one, as you soak up the Zim-vibes and celebrate Christmas.
The Majority of Zimbabweans have some religious following, and as the year comes to an end, many people choose to take the time to pray and thank God for the year and prepare for the coming year. Year-ends are filled with Church revivals, crusades and all-night prayers. Those who follow a deeply religious lifestlye, start their Christmas day with a church service.
Christmas has always been a big deal in Zimbabwe. Children look forward to their gifts, parents anticipate a well deserved break and family time. How this period is celebrated depends on many factors including financial standing, personal preferences and family dynamics. Regardless of how it is done, every Zimbabwean has a Christmas story to tell and it usually has A LOT of food and laughter involved.