The worst part of my Igbo Christmas

Merry Christmas ndi nkem “my people”!

This Christmas is such an awkward one for me. For one, it is my first time spending Christmas in the United States. It is also my first time spending Christmas away from my family, and it is definitely my first time spending Christmas at alone. I’ve been feeling a little down considering the facts and to cheer myself up, I decided to think of what I am grateful to have missed out on this Christmas period.

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Cutting of carrots for fried rice

So imagine this, you arrive in the village on the 19th of December and every single day till you leave on the 4th of January, is spent in the kitchen cooking. This is the worst part of an Igbo Christmas for me. I have a large nuclear and extended family. As if that isn’t enough, my dad is a well-known person in the community. This means that our holiday period sees us entertaining anywhere from 10-40 guests or more every single day for the duration of our stay.

Big basket of oha leaves we plucked to make soup. This is just half of the batch.

Cooking which is mainly handled by my mom is done en masse. We cook as if its for a wedding every single day. It is a whole production, and I absolutely hate it. Yes, I who has a whole cooking instagram page @_cookingwithclara, hates being in the kitchen during the holidays. In fact, one year I hid in the bathroom while my mom was calling me to come and cut okro. I had to escape cause I was not ready to cut the mountain of okro that she was cooking. This and many more were some of the shenanigans I had to pull to escape the kitchen work that the holiday season brought us.

Blending cocoyam for Oha soup

Well this year, we aren’t doing any of that. Although I miss the village, seeing my relatives and eating all the good food that comes with the season, I do not miss the stress of running around the kitchen trying to entertain the multitudes of guests that visit our home. That being said, I hope everyone has an amazing holiday period. Wishing you a Merry Christmas and an even Prosperous New Year!

Photo by Olenka Sergienko on

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