Celebrating Christmas in Burkina Faso


adopt from burkina fasoAs in the United States, Christmas in Burkina Faso is celebrated on December 25th. Christmas in this country is typically celebrated both among families and in churches. Christmas is not about decorations or gifts for children, but is about supplying good food for family and neighbors. In Burkinabe villages, children mix clay, straw and water to build masterpieces outside of their compounds, illustrating the biblical theme of the crib. Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus are clay figures made inside of the clay-crib.


Less than half the people in Burkina Faso are Christian. Most of the others are Muslim. Many families have some family members who are Catholic, some who are Protestant and some who are Muslim. Most people celebrate all the traditional holidays  common to both Christianity and Islam. On the Muslim holidays, the Muslim families prepare a great feast and they are visited by all their friends and neighbors, regardless of religion.  In the same way, the Christians prepare a big feast for Christmas and Easter and the Muslims come to share the feasts with them. Togetherness is the focus of holiday celebrations in this country.

Christmas Meal and Festivities

Families in Burkina Faso may celebrate the holiday with a special meal of chicken or mutton. Families usually skip having rice with their meals on Christmas because they have rice every day throughout the rest of the year. Instead, they substitute macaroni for rice. After church on Christmas, many people in Burkina Faso stay up late dancing and partying for the holidays, and sometimes these festivities even include fireworks.

Maan Nezim Nzedo

A tasty Burkinabe meal you can prepare for this upcoming Christmas is Maan nezim nzedo, fish stew with vegetables. Below is the recipe:

½ cup of oil
2 (8 ounce) cans of tomato sauce
1 onion, thinly sliced
1/4th teaspoon of red pepper
2 tea spoons of salt
1 ½ pounds of freshwater fish, catfish preferred
1 (10 ounce) package of frozen okra pods cut in halves
3 carrots cut in 1/4th inch slices
1 small head cabbage, quartered and sliced
1 (10 ounce) package of frozen green beans
1 cup of rice

Combine oil, tomato sauce, onion, pepper and salt in a 12 inch skillet and bring to a boil. Add to this mixture the fish which should be cut into 6 serving pieces, and the okra, carrots, cabbage, and beans. Cover; bring mixture to a boil, then cook on low for 5 minutes. Add rice and continue cooking for 25 minutes, adding water to the mixture if necessary.

MLJ Adoptions and Burkina Faso

MLJ works collaboratively with attorneys in Burkina Faso for families wanting to adopt from Africa.  As many do over the holidays, MLJ’s foreign staff attorneys in Burkina Faso spent time fundraising and delivering much needed supplies, food, clothing and toys to the orphanages in Ouagadougou over the holidays last Christmas, showing their compassion and dedication to children in need.  MLJ is proud to work with such dedicated professionals.

For more information on the holidays and culture around the world, follow our Pinterest Board.

Please contact us for more information on adopting from Burkina Faso.

Photo Credit: FAME World


Tiffany Turner is in a yearlong internship program at MLJ Adoptions as part of her Bachelor’s of Social Work studies at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis. Upon graduation in the spring of 2016, Tiffany hopes to work with children in the foster care system.

MLJ Adoptions is a Non-Profit, Hague-Accredited adoption service provider located in Indianapolis, Indiana, working in Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Pacific Isles. We are passionate about serving children in need.