Here's part two in an open-ended series I'm doing on Christmas in countries where Compassion works. I say open-ended because I was hoping to have a post a day read to go for the month of December, but that didn't quite work out! If you liked this, check out my previous post on the Philippines (and keep your fingers crossed I can get a few more posts finished up!)
Burkina Faso, in West Africa, has a population that is very religious. The country is divided almost evenly into Christians and Muslims- about half the country practices one of these faiths. There are some people who still practice traditional, animist belief systems. Atheism is virtually nonexistent in the country, which I thought was an interesting little factoid.
Those who practice Christianity celebrate Christmas. Some Muslim families may also participate in the festivities. Pere Noel, or Father Christmas, visits on December 23 in Burkina Faso- Father Christmas delivers gifts a few days early in this country! Christmas dolls are widely available in the cities. Catholics also prominently display Mary, Jesus' mother, in their holiday celebrations. Artificial trees, complete with decorations, are sold on street corners for about $50 American.
Families in Burkina Faso may celebrate the holiday with a special meal of chicken or mutton. According to one mother who was interviewed by the BBC about how her family celebrates Christmas, families in Burkina Faso often skip having rice with their meals, as they have rice every day. For the holidays, they will have macaroni instead!
After church on Christmas, many people in Burkina Faso stay up late dancing and partying for the holidays! Sometimes these festivities also include fireworks.
If you'd like to try some food from Burkina Faso, here is a recipe for bean cakes (made with rice- sorry, no macaroni here!)
1 can black-eyed peas, drained
1 small onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 egg, whisked
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 cup flour
1/4 cup oil
2 cups cooked rice
Combine the black-eyed peas, onion, carrot, and egg in a blender, and blend until they form a smooth paste-like mixture. Add the salt and pepper. The bean mixture needs to be thick enough so you can form it into little bean balls. If it has too much liquid, add 1/4 cup flour. Shape into 2-inch little meatballs (sans meat) and flatten into patties. Fry each patty in the oil until browned, about 5-7 minutes. Serve the cakes with rice.