Christmas in Botswana shares the same principles of Christmas in the United States – gathering of family, feasts, and church service. An estimated 70% of Botswana’s citizens are Christian, and attending mass during Christmas in commonplace. While the countries celebrate Christmas the same way on the surface, there are differences between the two. A Botswana Christmas is a much mellower affair, if gifts are given they are small, and the emphasis is on time spent with loved ones, as opposed to the commercial craze of a North American Christmas that begins well before Thanksgiving. The commercial craze of Botswana does exist in Gaborone, the largest city and capital of Botswana, which offers several malls that fully embrace the holiday spirit, with banners, Christmas lights, and a Santa. Cities are often emptier during the holidays, as urban dwellers return to their rural homelands to visit family and bring presents, clothes, and food from cities. Gift giving often occurs at midnight on the 25th, as opposed to early in the morning. Goats are used as the go-to Christmas dish in Botswana, and are often roasted and eaten outside – it is after all the warm season in Botswana in December.
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