Easter is an important Christian celebration that marks the beginning of hope for the church. It is a day that Christians mark the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. The period is a public holiday in Nigeria, a country which is deeply religious country with a population that is evenly divided into almost equal numbers of Christians and Muslims.
How do we celebrate Easter in Nigeria? Well, it is basically a day or rather two days of being away from work and having time to spend and rejoice with family, friends and fellow Christians at Church.
It always falls on a Sunday but the Holiday always spills over to Easter Monday which also is a public holiday. The basic we do to celebrate Easter in Nigeria involves some of these things: Attending Church service, having a family feast, visiting our roots and organizing traditional marriages
Attending Church service
Churches during the Easter service in Nigeria is normally overwhelmingly full as that’s the time you see a lot more unusual number of people at church.So, the first thing to do at Easter is to attend church service/mass and worship God. For Christians in Nigeria, going to church on Easter is a must and that marks the beginning of the celebrations. When going to church, one has to be prepared for multiple offerings.
Having a family feast
This is always important as part of the Easter celebration. Christians across Nigeria always have to have a feast which involves specially prepared meal to mark the occasion. There is most likely going to be goats or chickens slaughtered, rice and salad made and other foods and drinks. Eating together during Easter is common and a prayer is said as a family before the feasting begins.
This can either be on Easter Sunday or the Monday. Most people however prefer Mondays since Sundays are mostly about church service. On Monday, there are a lot of places to go to spend time with friends, families. It involves visiting places for sight seeing, relaxation and merriment.
It is also a time to spend a bit of the income you’ve earned for the first quarter of the year joyfully. People visit restaurants and beaches, shopping malls, cinemas and family friends and there is a lot of spending and cheering going on. Christian people may also have special activities to mark at church after service. Going out is a must for most people during Easter and at times, churches organize programs during Easter for families to spend their time there.
Visiting the village
For many people living in Nigeria’s urban cities for most times of the year, Easter also presents an opportunity to visit one’s native home in the village which is mostly in rural areas that may not have all the utilities like the city but is a sure nice environment with less pollution.
For many Nigerians who love to travel to the village, it is even a much better experience than celebrating it in the city because they would be a lot of traditional activities like church services in local languages, opportunity to visit close family members and grand parents, visiting one’s farm and plucking fruits, attending festivals, slaughtering goats and cows, big feasts, traditional marriages, burials, listening to birds singing rather than automobiles and so on. Life is much fun and different when spending Easter at the village than in cities. Besides there is also the thrill of a long distance journey that takes most people across many states in a day.
Most people don’t really wish that the celebrations and holiday should end but as the working days draw near, people are not too eager to get back to work so quickly and most self employed people would rather return to work a week later while others would only grudgingly go back after a day or two. Normal life starts again slower and it takes about a week or less for the relaxation mood to wear off and Nigerians wait for the next holiday.