Over time, the Portuguese culture and religion spread throughout Angola, and with it came the celebration of Christmas.
Christmas in Angola is a large celebration, which is to be expected when close to half of the population identifies as Catholic and another 25% identifying as Protestant or some other sector of Christianity.
Throughout history, wherever Christianity goes, Christmas comes with it since it is celebrated as the birth of Christ. Often, nativity scenes with Jesus, his parents, the shepherds, and the wise men can be seen around the country.
This is the case in Angola, where church attendance is important on Christmas Day, along with the Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve.
The Christmas Day Mass is so important to the country that it is televised so as many people can watch it as possible.
The church services are significant. However, Christmas in Angola is similar to other countries in that it is a day to spend time with family.
Families get together and have Christmas meals. The type of meal varies on whether they live in a city or a rural area. Regardless of where they live, these meals are special and only occur once a year.
The Christmas meal served is as follows:
The meal traditionally consists of 'pirão' or 'funge' (a type of polenta made of corn meal or cassava flour) with rice, spaghetti, french fries, turkey, fried chicken, and dishes like 'ozido de bacalhau' (cooked cold fish with vegetables), 'calulu' (a dish of fried fish or beef with tomatoes, garlic, okra, sweet potatoes, and spinach, etc.) and 'mufete' (grilled fish served with stewed palm oil beans, sweet potato, plantain, and cassava). (Why Christmas)
That is the meal. However, the favorite dessert to eat at Christmas in Angola is a Portuguese dish called Bolo Rei. The Bolo Rei is a Christmas cake made with fruit and is one of the influences of Portugal.
While in America, the fruit cake is often made fun of and said to be something that a grandma makes that nobody likes, there is nothing to make jokes about with this dessert.
Below is a video of a traditional Portuguese Bolo Rei.
Santa Claus is also recognized in Angola with frequent appearances for children to see.
Due to the influence of Christianity, Christmas has become a staple holiday for Angolans and will continue to be one in the near future.