Christmas

Here's why Christmas In Nigeria Is Better Than Christmas In America

Christmas traditions are what makes Christmas the best season of the year.

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Imagine: It's Thanksgiving day, but you have double the amount of food, double the celebrations and, double the excitement. That is how big a deal Christmas is in Nigeria. Christmas is my favorite holiday, and it's been almost two years since I've been home to experience the excitement that surrounds it. Besides the usual traditions of decorating the house and Christmas tree, sharing of gifts and many more, there are some specific traditions which are indigenous to Nigeria which I miss and love. Now, Christmas here in America is also exciting, I get to hang out with relatives, exchange gifts with loved ones and maybe sing a carol song or two, but all this doesn't compare to Christmas in Nigeria.

Here in America, you buy gifts for your loved ones and they also buy for you and you exchange gifts on Christmas day. However, in Nigeria, your parents buy gifts for you. Most of these gifts include clothes and shoes, which you usually wore on Christmas to show off to your friends. This was usually the most interesting part of Christmas to look forward to as a little kid, but when you become older you begin to lose interest in the clothes and shoes and actually prefer to be given monetary gifts.

In Nigeria, relatives gifted money when you outgrew the clothes. In America, the gifts still remain gifts.

Fireworks are displayed after Christmas celebrations and they're displayed at the end of the day. I mean, what is a celebration without fireworks?! The only downside is that you might lose some sleep because the show can go on all night.

Like Thanksgiving, it is also a tradition for families to cook for Christmas. Now, Nigerian families take this really seriously and tend to cook as much as 5 different types of dishes. This is pretty cool because neighbors sometimes share their indigenous food with you and you get to taste different delicacies.

It's also cool to get to see what we call "I-just-got-backs" or "IJGBs" as we call them. These are the people that study abroad that are home for the holidays. I love being able to reunite with everyone coming back to Nigeria for Christmas.

In Nigeria, Christianity is the most practiced religion, so most families tend to go to church on Christmas mornings for Christmas service. For some reason, Christmas carols get me excited and having it sung by a beautiful choir increases this excitement to another level.

Is Christmas complete without a party? Almost every household hosts parties and during these parties, you dance your troubles away, drink, eat and just chill and catch up with friends or that long-lost relative you haven't seen in years.

Concerts are also really big in Nigeria. Most music artists leave their concerts to be celebrated at Christmas because its the time when everyone's free and financially ready to see their favorites. Concerts are so important that sometimes two artists could hold one on the same day and they would still have a large turnout of fans.

Christmas is a pretty big deal in Nigeria. Everyone is more carefree and caring back home.

I didn't appreciate these things while I was at home, but right now remembering those days, I've come to really appreciate them because they remind me of the where I came from.

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How Does It Really Feel To Be Racially Discriminated Against?

Racial discrimination as described by nine minorities.
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How does it feel to be racially discriminated against? Many people will never know because they will never have to feel that way. Therefore, I asked my fellow minorities to describe their feelings.

1. “Like I’m below humanity. [It feels] Like you're not real. Your words are never heard.” - Leah Eshelman

2. “Crap. It makes me feel like I'm not welcome. I feel like I can't trust anyone if I can't trust the ones who were selected to protect. I feel like I'm not free. I'm starting to believe that maybe I should've just killed myself a while back before someone else does it. It makes me feel like I have to fight for the rest of my life. I don't want to have kids that have to fight their whole lives either, especially after I'm dead and gone. There's no way people should have to fear the people around them.” - Myana Taylor

3.“You feel less than a person.” - Elijah Bowers

4. “[It feels] Like you are judged by everyone and they are always looking down on you because you are a different color” - Chloe Swartz

5. “As for me personally, it makes me feel like I shouldn't be living on this planet or next to people who dislike who I am. I want to change, but can't. So, I feel hated. I’m disgusted by who I am. The color of my skin shouldn’t mean anything, but to people, if I am not white, I am not American. How does it feel to want to bleach your skin? How does it feel to despise who you are? It feels like trying to be something that you are not to fit in. I look in mirror and pretend that I am a different color. People examine you like you are a piece of meat that has went bad.” -Ariann Swartz

6. “It is horrible. Why does the human population think it is only about the color of your skin? No baby is born racist. They have been taught over the years. By parents, family, friends and co-workers. It just doesn't end there, the list can go on and on and on. People pick it up from society. People follow you around in stores because of it. Just because you are African. Or close enough to African because it is a type of black. They think all black people steal. Well, I have some news for them: we don't. The color of your skin defines you for the rest of your life. It never ends, only when you die. Would white people want to feel terrible for the rest of their lives? Black and white are just colors. It is in newspapers. It is in old photos. Why is that okay, but the color of your skin isn't? Black and white; no one judges the newspaper for the color, so why is different for skin?.” -Hailey Swartz

7. “It feels awful, it's infuriating. It's disgusting that people think they are better than another person just because they have a different skin tone.” -Ilani Mann

8. “It sucks.You always have one strike against you, so you really have to watch your back. You have to watch everything you do. White people will blame black people for everything and black people are always last on the podium. Even the educated minorities rarely see CEO because others are subject to white privilege. Think about it in these Fortune 500 companies. How many minorities do you see owning or running the show? Cops always assume all black people sell drugs or [that] all of us are ignorant. I personally feel neglected from a country that I'm giving my all to. I pay taxes, I vote; I play my part, but yet we don't really get much back.” -James Jordan

9. “It hurts. This stuff is getting worse and worse, for no reason. We were taught that if we didn't like someone to simply stay away. I'd rather someone stay away from me then be next to me and treat me like dirt. I love being black. I just thank God that I'm not a black man. Because my life would be cut short. Simple as that.” -DeAnna Jones

What does it feel like to be racially discriminated against? To summarize, it feels like depression, oppression and repression.

Cover Image Credit: IVY969

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I'm Keeping My Christmas Tree Up All Winter And There's Nothing You Can Do About It

It's the WINTER Season... ;-)

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I think that my tree would not be considered Christmas-y if the ornaments are taken off and the lights are kept on. I think to just looks wintry. I am also keeping up decorations that say "let it snow", and I am keeping up any snowman without holly berries or presents in their hands.

The tree looks wintry in my opinion. It looks pretty with the lights and brings the room together. It gives off a warm ambiance, unlike that of fluorescent lighting.

I've taken all ornaments off except for gold snowflakes and I've left the silver tinsel garland on as well as the lights. It looks wintry to me still. I will probably be taking the whole tree down by the end of this month to prepare for Valentine's Day decorating. (Yes, I pretty much decorate my apartment for every holiday—sue me).

There's nothing like coming downstairs and seeing those lights sparkling.

Or coming inside from a dreary, rainy day outside and seeing them light up the room in a calm, warm, and comforting glow.

Or having a bad day, looking up, and seeing them shine.

It sort of makes me upset when I come downstairs and see that someone has unplugged them, to be honest.

I guess they don't see it as I do.

Pretty, twinkling lights forever!

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