The World That Never Was: Christmas in Africa

Like my last post on The World That Never Was, Epcot was to host several countries that never got built, and in continuing our celebration of Christmas in July, we are looking back at another pavilion we have covered and what you may have seen there during the Holidays at Walt Disney World. A few months back, I covered one of the biggest pavilions the World Showcase at Epcot would have ever had, and Christmas there would have probably been a giant festivity as well.

Due to British colonialism as well as the spread of Christian beliefs throughout Africa, Christmas is a holiday celebrated throughout the continent and in many different ways. Due to the different customs, there may have been lots to do within the pavilion, but more than likely, Disney may have selected it’s favorite of the customs to celebrate, so why not have the readers here see what they like and what they might celebrate as this is The World That Never Was and this area never got built.

Christmas has always been a time to give and gifts have been a tradition all over the world since the earliest of celebrations. Africa is no different, but due to the vast economic differences, the majority of gifts given are necessities. Church clothes for Christmas morning are the most common, but you may also see soaps, school books, or other practical items.

Food is a major part of the holiday, which makes me jump for joy. in Africa, depending on the area, traditional Christmas dinners differ. In most of Eastern Africa, goats are the main course which could be a unique and quality meal for anyone around the world, maybe even the World Showcase. South Africa takes the hot summer approach, bringing out the grill and barbecuing along with a mix of plum puddings and mince pie. Along with the dinner in South Africa, everyone wears paper hats, a tradition passed on from the British colonial days. Within Liberia, rice, beef, and biscuits are on tap and bring another unique meal to the African Christmas celebration we could have had at Epcot. In Zimbabwe, along with the goat meat you would have had, bread, jam, and tea would be a traditional meal and would go more along with the British rule of the past mixed with the cultures of the African peoples.

Also, due to the warm temperatures throughout most of Africa, Christmas dinner would typically be set up outside and invitations to neighbors and family members would be common practice, much like a block party. Games are also played in the afternoon amongst friends and a typical fireworks show would end the night.

Unlike most of the Americas and Europe, Africa goes without snow during this time of year, however decorative fake snow is hung around local shops and lights are hung from local palm and mango trees as well as homes and shop fronts. Bells hanging from trees, especially in Liberia, are a common site as well as candles hanging down too.

What do you think about the possible celebrations in the African pavilion? Would this be a destination for your holiday celebrations?

Josh Taylor
Follow Me on Twitter: @kidredo
Email me  at disneyparkhistory@yahoo.com

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Posted on July 26, 2012, in Articles. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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