Holidays in Tanzania

Tanzania’s religion and culture is as varied and rich as its natural landscape. The majority of the population is Muslim, followed by Christian, Hindu, Sikh, and numerous tribes. The largest city in Tanzania is Dar es Salaam, and its Catholic Churches are lit up with Christmas lights, Christmas Trees, and holiday cheer. November through February is Tanzania’s warmest part of the year, and turkeys are in short supply in Tanzania, so often a holiday BBQ in the warm weather takes place during Christmas. Finding a turkey for American expats during Thanksgiving and Christmas is a daunting task, so often a chicken or a Helmeted Guineafowl is substituted. Helmeted Guineafowl are native to Tanzania and look like North American Turkeys - in fact European explorers accidentally mistook North American Turkeys for Helmeted Guineafowl when discovering the New World. The Christmas holiday revolves around the Christmas feast and church mass. For the most part, Tanzania doesn’t practice the traditional gift giving that North Americans and Europeans are used to; instead parents buy clothes for their children and their partner. Kids often show off their new clothes on Christmas day, wearing them to the Christmas feast and mass. The Tanzanian holiday focuses more on community than commercialism, and gift giving takes a back seat to togetherness and establishing a sense of community.