Coming to Nigeria for Christmas 2023 – A Guide for Sport Lovers


    By Mazi Jaka

    Merry Christmas and Happy New year in Advance! Are you a sports lover and you are planning to be in Nigeria this Christmas? Maybe, you are pondering on how to get the best and have a fun filled holiday. Well, I thought so too, and decided to come up with this guide. 

    Don’t let all the stories about bombing and kidnapping scare you or dampen your spirit, Nigeria is relatively safe, depending on what part of the country you are planing to spend your holiday. I think you can really have a memorable Christmas this year, especially if you are a sports lover. Let me give you tips of what to expect as well as places you could visit and spend time during this yuletide period. 

    Common Christmas Culture in Nigeria

    Harmattan Christmas

    It’ll not be a white Christmas; you’ll never find snow in Nigeria because there’s no winter here. It’s usually a dry chilling weather with a regular cyclone and dust storm called North- East trade wind, blowing intensely from the Sahara Desert. It is called ‘Harmattan Season.’

    But with the climate change observed in Nigeria this year, it’s possible we may not experience such intense harmattan. The weather is currently hot, averaging between 36 degrees to 38 degrees Celsius – A good weather for outdoor events.

    Well, I rather advice you to pack your sweaters along with some light cloths, you never can tell how intense the weather could be. Pack some petroleum jelly, lotions and creams may not be able to protect you body from harmattan wear and tear. 

    Christmas Clothing

    If your an Arsenal fan, your 2023/24 season jersey may just be a best fit to move around during this Christmas period. Clothes with red, green, white with a touch of gold. I also think Liverpool jersey can go during casual events or evening outing. 

    But pack some of your best and gorgeous clothes so you don’t feel out of place. I think you should go for shopping. There are going to be a lot of events and occasion that will require such ostentatious dressing. Christmas period is when most people from the South-East schedule their weddings, house warmings, burials, carnivals and community festivals. 

    Christmas Shopping

    Nigerians are known to go all out on shopping for the holidays, and most importantly, they select the most gorgeous of all apparels to wear on the 25th of December, the day marked out to celebrate the Christmas holiday. 

    Some families go all out to make custom designs, identical fabrics or uniform colors for every single member of the family. In some areas, different families try to outdo each other by wearing elaborate styles when they go visiting on the day. It all adds to the holiday fun and excitement.

    Christmas rice

    The idea of Christmas rice has become a tradition in Nigeria. You hear friend asking each other, “Where is my Christmas rice?” or making such comments as “I will visit you for my Christmas rice.” While the rice can be prepared in a variety of ways- either jollof rice or fried rice, it is customary that rice is available for guests when they visit you during the period. The rice can be garnished with chicken, goat meat and combined with other appetizers or desserts, depending on what the family can afford. This is also the reason why some companies gift their workers with rice and oil prior to the holiday. 

    Christmas Gifts

    If you’re planning to share gifts, because gifts exchange is a culture you must be prepared to do, especially if you are coming from the bigs cities or from abroad. People will be expecting you to share gifts

    Clothing, shoes, gadgets like smartphones, smartwatches etc. Edibles such as bag of rice, groundnut oil, canned tomatoes, bottle of wines or whiskeys..some of the things you may like to bring along with you. 

    Christmas Pilgrimage 

    By December 15, after most school have vacated, the pilgrimage will begins. And by December 25, major densely populated cities like Lagos, Kano, Kaduna, Abuja, would have experienced a mass exodus of the Christian population – migrating to the South-East Nigeria. This is where Christmas happens!

    Enroute Your Flight to Lagos Sports City

    If you’re a sports lover and arriving early December, I advice you route your flight to land in Lagos. There are a lot hustles and bustles in this commercial city, but Lagos is one of the major sports cities in Nigeria. 

    Gym Culture and Socialization

    There is a growing fitness culture here in Lagos and going to the gym for exercise as well as socialization has become a way of networking with the people around. So plan to go to the gym as a way to meet so many classy ladies and guys within your neighborhood. 

    Visit Former national Stadium complex in Surulere

    There four major stadiums and a lot of play ground in Lagos, but the former national stadium Surulere has all the facilities for several sports and attract a lot of people daily. Going to the former national stadium for picnic during weekend full of fun and excitement for you and your family. 

    Visit Any of the Beaches in Lagos

    There are several beaches that attract a lot of holiday makers during Christmas period: Eleko, Kuramo, Bar beach,  landmark beach, Eleguishi beach, Tarwa bay… 

    So if you’d like to kite surfing, play beach soccer, or party all night, there’s a beach for you. 

    Experience – Largest Gospel Musical Carnival in Lagos

    The Experience is an annual, free gospel music carnival held at the Tafawa Balewa Square in Lagos Island, Nigeria. Begun and hosted by House on the Rock lead pastor Paul Adefarasin in 2006 and has become a major feature for early Christmas holiday makers. Over 100,000 people gather for an all night show that brings the creme LA creme gospel musicians across the world. One place you are sure to enjoy and have an unforgettable experience. 

    Christmas in the South-East Nigeria

    South-East is where Christmas happens! From December 15, there will mass exdous of people to the traveling to the South-East. The road travel is both tedious and a lot fun at the several bus parks in Ore, Benin, Enugu Okene, Lokoja…depending on route and where you are coming from. You are avail the opportunity to see the country topography and culture of the people in terms of dressing, housing and the kind of food they produce as the bus move from one rural area to another city. 

    Inter Village Football Competition

    You are likely to find your community or town organizing inter-village Christmas football tournament. This avail holiday makers the opportunity to gather in the morning as well as evening and to socialize, meet old friends and school mates. It is usually a lot of fun as you root and cheer your own village team. 

    Boxing Day Matches on Sport Bars

    In most villages and communities you find at least one sport bar or viewing center where the people gather to watch football. English Premier League is very popular across Nigerian communities and people look forward to the boxing Day matches and the rivalry between Arsenal and Chelsea, Manchester United vs Manchester City play out as most fans put on their favorite club jersey to cheer and argue at these bars. 


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