Christmas in South Africa: The Afrikaner Christmas Heritage
Afrikaners trace their roots back to Dutch, German, and French settlers who came to South Africa in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. In the early part of the twentieth century, Afrikaners from rural South Africa celebrated Christmas by attending church and receiving Holy Communion (the Eucharist), or by reading from the Bible at home. Children might receive a few, simple gifts. Special cakes and jam tarts, rarely available in those days, were served with Christmas dinner, which often featured roast turkey or roast pork. In some families, however, these special desserts were served on New Year’s Eve rather than Christmas. Families often went visiting on Christmas Day to exchange Christmas greetings in person. Over time many Afrikaners adopted the more festive Christmas customs of English South Africans.