New Year’s Eve: Here Is How The Day Is Celebrated In East, West & South Africa

New Year’s Eve: Here Is How The Day Is Celebrated In East, West & South Africa

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By Spy Uganda

Kampala: In the Gregorian calendar, New Year’s Eve (also known as Old Year’s Day or Saint Sylvester’s Day in some countries), the evening of the last day of the year, is on 31st December.

New Year’s Eve is celebrated: in Africa dancing, eating, drinking, and watching or lighting fireworks are common. The celebrations generally go on past midnight into New Year’s Day, 1st January. Below Is How Some African Countries Celebrate The Day.

Rwanda & Uganda

In both countries, nationals celebrate New Year’s Eve by going to church, taking part in social gatherings and organizing family activities.

In Rwanda, at 00:00, the president delivers an end-of-year address which is broadcast live on many radio and television stations likewise in Uganda the leader addresses the nation in the day’s evening hours.

Fireworks were introduced in recent years in Rwanda, with the most significant displays happening at Kigali Convention Centre, Rebero Hill, Mount Kigali.

South Sudan

In South Sudan, South Sudanese attend church services at many churches in Juba. The service begins at 9 pm. At the stroke of midnight, the famous carol, “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” is sung to mark the end and beginning of the year with a blessing. The service ends at 12:30 am.

In Other African Countries Like; 

Ghana

Ghanaians celebrate New Year’s Eve by going to church; others go to nightclubs, pubs or take to the streets to celebrate. At midnight, fireworks are displayed across various cities of Ghana, especially in Accra and Tema.

Nigeria

In Nigeria, Nigerians often Celebrate New Year’s Eve by going to church; others go to nightclubs and parties organized by individuals, communities, and other organizations.

In Lagos, a year-end festival is known as Lagos Countdown (later renamed One Lagos Fiesta) was first held in 2012, as part of an effort to establish tourism-oriented New Year’s festivities more in line with those of other major metropolitan areas.

South Africa

In South Africa, South Africans vote on a top ten music countdown before 31 December. When the countdown reaches number one, the song with the most votes plays on all the country’s radio stations. Fireworks are lit all around South Africa. South Africans engage in occasional drinking and braais.

Religious Observances

In the Roman Catholic Church, 1 January is a solemnity, the Feast of the Circumcision of Christ, honouring the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of Jesus; it is a Holy Day of Obligation in most countries (Australia being a notable exception), thus the Church requires the attendance of all Catholics in such countries for Mass that day.

However, a vigil Mass may be held on the evening before a Holy Day; thus it has become customary to celebrate Mass on the evening of New Year’s Eve. (New Year’s Eve is a feast day honouring Pope Sylvester I in the Roman Catholic calendar, but it is not widely recognized in the United States).

Many Christian congregations have New Year’s Eve watch night services. Some, especially Lutherans and Methodists and those in the African American community, have a tradition known as “Watch Night”, in which the faithful congregate in services continuing past midnight, giving thanks for the blessings of the outgoing year and praying for divine favour during the upcoming year.

In the English-speaking world, Watch Night can be traced back to John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, who learned the custom from the Moravian Brethren who came to England in the 1730s.

Moravian congregations still observe the Watch Night service on New Year’s Eve. Watch Night took on special significance to African Americans on New Year’s Eve 1862, as slaves anticipated the arrival of 1 January 1863, when Lincoln had announced he would sign the Emancipation Proclamation.

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