Christmas is held different all over the world, and you now it's that time of year when your local supermarket starts playing Mariah Carey. Whether you love or hate her, she always brings the Christmas mood.
By December first I want to lose my mind when I hear "All I want for Christmas", but when the 24th hits that song becomes my muse. In my Family, we don't really have a specific way of holding Christmas. We have an enormous dinner on the 24th with everyone who would like to join, whether it's friends or family, if you are alone on Christmas, you have no choice but to join us. Personally I find Christmas quite stressful and just look forward to the roast and dessert.
But this isn't how everyone celebrates. Thus I asked a few people how they spend their Christmas holidays.
While the biggest part of the Namibian population flees to the coast for the long-awaited December holidays, Annelien Murray's favourite memories are on their family farm, about 400 kilometres from the mild temperature of the coast. So, once the hottest part of the day hits, they retreat inside the house where the family will lay low until the sky turns into beautiful cotton candy colours and it's time for a sundowner. When Namibia is blessed with December rains it is the best time to be on the farm.
They source a Christmas tree from the bush, usually a dried-out tree or big branch that can be decorated. Christmas Eve is spent mostly outside. "We prepare all kinds of delicious finger foods. Then it is time to unwrap presents. We share scripture, things that we're grateful for and memories of previous Christmases spent with family members and friends that are no longer with us earthside. The musically gifted would then share some tunes with us on the piano or guitar for a sing-along." Annelien tells us. For Christmas Day, they prepare an opulent meal to be shared with friends and family. Afterwards they live on leftovers for a few more days. "It is nothing fancy but it is wholesome quality time with people we love, delicious food, commemoration, reflection and time to be still."
"The morning of Christmas Eve, a Christmas tree (big or small) is never forgotten and it can take many different forms like the Omwandi (Jackalberry) tree branches used by Aawambo people, in northern Namibia as it adds a Namibian flair." Ndinelao Shikemeni says. Her family usually, places the small tree branches on the individual huts and building structures within the homestead and a big branch is then placed within the Olupale (Boma). In the late afternoon, various ornaments are placed on the tree branch set in the Olupale by all family members as they simultaneously share sweet treats. Thereafter a fire is lit and biblical scriptures are read, followed by Christmas carols. Her family barely sleep that evening.
The morning of Christmas day, children and adults visit the neighbours’ homesteads to share sweet treats and check in with them if they all made it to Christmas, there’s a phrase we usually share as we enter each homestead, “Omwa lelepo nawa, mokili omwa fika mo tu nawa?” – “Good morning, have you made it safely to Christmas?” Should there be any Christmas presents, they are usually opened prior to visiting the neighbours. The rest of the day is spend preparing food, basking in laughter and enjoying time with family and friends. In essence, aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins, nieces and nephews, never need an invitation to visit. "We all love Christmas, It’s about love, joy, giving, family and thankfulness. And it is celebrated uniquely amongst the Namibian people, making it even more special."
While we wait for Michael Buble to completely defrost from last Christmas, why not make sure to spend time with your loved ones and cherish this time of joy and laughter.
What are traditions you have during the Christmas Season?