Good Friday, Easter Sunday, and Easter Monday are all public holidays in Namibia. When Easter arrives, churches and cathedrals all over the country will be full of worshipers, many of them dressed in bright, new clothing.
|2019||19 Apr||Fri||Good Friday|
|22 Apr||Mon||Easter Monday|
|2020||10 Apr||Fri||Good Friday|
|13 Apr||Mon||Easter Monday|
Nearly 90 percent of Namibia’s two million or so people identify as Christians, about 75 percent being Protestant and some 50 percent Lutheran. This situation arises mainly from the German and Finnish missionaries who evangelised Namibia in the 19th Century. A tenth or more of Namibians, however, still hold to the old traditional religions.
Since Namibia lies in the Southern Hemisphere, Easter comes not in spring but in Autumn. This holds well with Easter’s typical emphasis on new life, however, for autumn in Namibia is a very green time, with the land alive from the recent summer rains. Much wildlife is moving about as well at this time, with new-born antelope, flocks of flamingos, and migrating elephants to be seen. And the weather is cooler than in the hot summer months.
Sermons, singing, children’s skits, and Easter joy are the same here as in all lands. But the distinct flavour of the local culture certainly shows through as well.
However, there are also Easter egg hunts and Easter baskets. But these take on a local character, as hollowed, decorated ostrich eggs are the centre-piece of many a native, woven basket.
Should you be in Namibia for Easter, here are some ideas on things to do:
- Spend time at a local church to experience a Namibian Easter service. And see if you can get yourself invited to an Easter party as well to see the home life side of celebrating Easter in Namibia.
- Get out and explore the Namibian countryside. You may want to visit Fish River Canyon, the second-biggest canyon on earth; tour Kaokoland, where you will see how lions and elephants survive in the desert and see the impressive Epupa Waterfalls; or see Etosha National Park or Waterberg Plateau Park.
- Explore some of Namibia’s unique cities and towns. Windhoek, the capital, is full of restaurants with a full array of both local and international cuisine. Walvis Bay is famous for its bird and fish filled lagoon and its dunes, which many enjoy four-wheeling around or climbing to the top of. Luderitz has buildings dating from the German colonial days.
- If Easter comes in march, you may be able to also see the “Wild Cinema” film festival. If it comes in April, you may wish to attend the Windhoek Karneval, which has masks, parades, and musical performances.
An Easter spent in Namibia will certainly be a new experience and create lasting memories of a very unique land and culture.