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Nigeria: First celebrated December 25, 1842

Christmas Celebrations

Nigeria: First celebrated December 25, 1842

Ferguson on March 2nd, 1841, sent a letter to Rev. Dove, for the Missionary committee in London and on September 23, 1841 he got a reply, with the arrival of Reverend Thomas Birch Freeman in a small vessel named “SPY” which anchored in Gberefu (KLEFU) Sea Beach. Rev. Freeman was accompanied by two African assistants: William De Graft and his wife both from Ghana (Gold Coast). Freeman had come to preach Christianity for the first time, the next day he was taken to Asisoe Tin, under the Agia tree, where the first sermon of Christianity was first preached.

Photo: bu.edu /Rev. Freeman

Freeman later left to Abeokuta to honour an invitation from King Sodeke to preach Christianity to slave returnees who had relocated from Badagry to settle in Abeokuta. He arrived Abeokuta in the morning of Sunday December 11, 1842 in a heroic reception, he held his first service at Shodeke’s palace.

Photo: RAMM-World cultures/ Rev. Henry Townsend

On December 24th, Rev. Freeman and his companions returned to Badagry only to meet Rev. Henry Townsend of church Missionaries society [CMS now Anglican] who had arrived Badagry on December 17th. The following morning which was Christmas Day, Rev. Freeman returned to AGIA TREE with Rev. Townsend to celebrate the first Christmas in Nigeria on December 25, 1842. The Christmas service was attended by a large and devoted congregation made up of the Badagry people, the resident Europeans in Badagry and the returnees who had settled in Badagry. Rev. Townsend read the scripture and Rev. Freeman preached the day’s sermon on “The incarnation Redeemer of Mankind.”

Photo: nairaland / Christmas photo in badagry, 1923.

The famous Agia tree fell on June 1959 after leaving for over 300 years. Today, Christmas is celebrated with music and caroling, lighting a Christingle, an exchange of Christmas cards, church services, a special meal, and the display of various Christmas decorations, including Christmas trees, Christmas lights, nativity scenes, garlands, wreaths, mistletoe, and holly. Santa Claus or Father Christmas, Saint Nicholas, and Christ kind, are associated with bringing gifts to children during the Christmas season and have their own body of traditions and lore.

Source: Leading Reporters

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