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Celebrating Christmas Amidst Poverty in Developing Countries

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*Image Source: Pixabay

Christmas is the most special time of the year when people celebrate the birth of Christ. The spirit of Christmas fills the air as this festivity makes everyone united about doing good to others. In rich countries, families get to get together and dine together eating sumptuous food that sometimes are more than enough.

Developing countries also are not exempt when it comes to celebrating Christmas. Even deep poverty cannot hinder poor folks in poor countries become part of the festivities. Here are some ways where different countries celebrate Christmas.


Uganda people celebrate Sekukkulu or Christmas in English every 25th of December, according to About.Com. Sekukkulu, Jesus Christ’s birth, starts on the eve of December 24th with a “watch night” service. The service has numerous Christmas carols with a very decorated and well-lit church. After the service, the real holiday cooking begins. On December 25th in the morning, the church is maximized with its space as people who never attend church attends on this day. Ugandans get the opportunity to wear new outfits with women wearing new traditional dresses in vibrant colors with paired turbans.


Haitians celebrate Christmas by cutting pine branches to serve as Christmas trees or to purchase freshly cut trees in the beginning of December. These peoples decorate these trees with bright ornaments and add up a large nativity scene in their living rooms. This tradition is also done in companies, churches, and organizations.

Compassion reports that people get busy purchasing new things for themselves and their homes. Malls attract buyers with discounts for their products. The air has the smell of wood polish and freshly painted walls.

Children set up their cleaned up shoes filled with straw under the Christmas tree or on the porch on Christmas Eve. These children expect Tonton Nwel (Santa Claus) to put in presents in and/or around the shoes.

Some Haitians attend Midnight Mass while others go out in the neighborhood singing Christmas Carols.


Liberia celebrates Christmas in a very distinct manner compared to other countries. Liberians do not have a Santa Claus but has an “Old Man Beggar” who wears rag-like costumer and asks for money.Tourists are expected to give to these “beggars,” in a commentary in Liberian Observer.

Tourists are told “My Christmas is in your blood” instead of “Merry Christmas.” This gives tourists the feeling that they have to give to everyone in Liberia.

The streets are filled with auctions. Christmas is considered to be the best time to obtain colorful and trendy items at a fair price.


This distinctly sole Christian nation in Asia celebrates Christmas months prior to the big celebration. As early as September, Christmas lights are lit in different parts of the country. Beautiful parols also are decorated in houses. These parols are equivalent to Christmas trees in Western nations.

Poverty does not stop these third world countries in celebrating the spirit of Christmas.

The Simbang Gabi, a series of masses done over nine night before Christmas, is a tradition practiced by Filipinos. It is believed that a person’s wish will come true if he completes the nine masses, according to CNN.

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