For some people, the festive season is cold, grey, wet and maybe even snowy. If you’re one of those people, you’d be forgiven for not feeling very festive in Botswana.
The festive season in Botswana is slap bang in the middle of our summer, and Christmas is a sizzling hot affair. The heat is intense and if lucky, we do get some reprieve when it rains.
We do celebrate both Christmas and New Year, just not in the same fashion as most people in the West. Many people take days off work and head back to their home towns/villages, to be with friends and family. During this time, big towns like Francistown and the capital city are virtually deserted, because not many people enjoy spending the festive season in the city. Subsequently, big towns are usually quiet and the traffic not as congested.
Some people may even go to their cattle post; which for the sake of clarification is like a farm where Batswana keep their livestock and some even do some ploughing. Some families slaughter a goat or two or even a cow and invite those around them to partake in the feast.
Those who opt to stay within their towns and villages often throw parties that spill over to a few days. If there’s one thing Batswana do well, it’s partying up a storm. So they never need an excuse to party, but they take it up a notch over the festive season.
Although Christmas is enjoyed and celebrated by all, people seem to get even more excited to usher in the New Year and will move heaven and hell to find the best party from which to see in the New Year. Everywhere you go, there’s jubilation; parties and braais (BBQs) abound. Often, as the clock strikes 12 midnight, you’ll hear the loud banging of drums and people screaming Happppiiiieeeee!!!! – meaning Happy New Year. The party then continues and almost certainly ends when the sun comes up the next day. Or it just carries on the next day.
A long-standing tradition is for people to descend upon Maun, the gateway to the Okavango Delta. Maun has over the years gained the reputation of being party central of Botswana. Often there are so many people converging in Maun, that there are not enough lodges and hotels to accommodate them all! –and Maun is not short of them, both within the centre and along the fringes.
With a mere few hours to go before we see in 2017, we at YourBotswana would like to say Happy New Year! Pula! Happppiiieee! We wish you all a very happy and prosperous 2017.
Le bo nweng le bo tshela metsi!