Goodwill and sunscreen
In Commonwealth terms, it's called Boxing Day, after the tradition of giving workers who were required to work on Chrismtas Day a 'Christmas box' and a day off. In the USA, it’s the first day of Kwanzaa, a week-long celebration of African heritage. It is Family Day In the Vanuatu archipelago, Thanksgiving on the Solomon Islands and, in Slovenia, a day of independence and unity. In Ireland and on the Isle of Man, it is Wren Day, where young men walk around dressed in straw and, in the Bahamas, the streets are filled with dancing and music as the Junkanoo Street Parade takes place.
It is 26 December and, since 1994, the year that South Africa became a democracy, this national holiday has been called the Day of Goodwill.
In South Africa, goodwill celebrators seem to spend this day doing one of three things (and sometimes all three).
- Watching or playing sport
- Going to the beach or a park to picnic and listen to music
These activities always involve bonding with family and friends, sharing food, generally spreading goodwill and putting on sunscreen. It is a restful day. Sometimes it rains. Then the sunscreen is obsolete.
Here is a list of activities and venues that you can recommend to guests visiting South Africa around this time.
For real life runs, sixes, howzits, catchers and sunscreen visitors to Nelson Mandela Bay can experience the first day of South Africa vs West Indies Boxing Day Cricket Test at St Georges Cricket Ground. This venue is famous for being the first ground in South Africa to host a test match – in 1889.
When: 26 December 2014, 10.30am
Where: St George's Cricket Ground, Nelson Mandela Bay
Tickets: R30 – R70
More info: www.epcricket.co.za
Alternatively, the Hot Summer of Touch takes place hits the small Western Cape town of Stilbaai on 26 December, and involves touch rugby and good times.
Picnics and music
Encourage your guests to head on down to the nearest beach or park to soak up some of the atmosphere. There are also some organised events taking place.
Mark Haze, Black Cat Bones, Kiss the Sky and Cedric van den Schrik are some of the local bands performing at the Tribute Festival. They will be paying tribute to some of the greatest rock bands, from Jimi Hendrix to Pink Floyd.
When: 26 December 2014, 12pm
Where: Hillcrest Quarry, Hillcrest Wine Estate, Tygerberg Valley Road, Durbanville, Western Cape
Tickets: R80 – R130, book on Computicket
Jesse Clegg Live & Unplugged Tour
Jesse Clegg is a South African alternative rock artist who has become a nationwide platinum-selling success. He'll be performing in Somerset West on the Day of Goodwill.
When: 26 December 2014
Where: Star Bar, Somerset West, Western Cape
Tickets: R100, book through Star Bar
There's nothing like a braai to bring people together, and it's an aspect of South African culture that your guests are sure to enjoy.
Give your guests the opportunity to experience a braai first-hand by serving up meat, fish or veggies, together with pap and sous, braaibroodjies or grilled corn and a mixed salad.
So go on, tell your guests to experience some South African goodwill by shouting howzit, shaking it up to music and standing around a fire on 26 December.