Monday, December 10, 2007

Celebrate Generousity!

A performance of River Bride by Adwoa Badoe's class of dance students
When I was growing up in Ghana, we didn't believe in Santa and it wasn't because we didn't want to, but we had no fire places with chimney entries to let him through! Santa was only ever at the Kingsway Store, and he was black. Besides he had very little to give for the price one paid for the short miniature train ride which one took across the department store floor. This did not agree with the books we read where Santa was Caucasian, and rode reindeer accross the sky. Yet his songs found their way across the ocean to our homes and schools and we learned to sing them. Still, Christmas was fun for the new clothes we received and the few toys we got but particularly for the food we ate: jolof rice with beef, chicken light soup, spicy goat meat- stewed or fried and fufu, gari-foto, fried ripe plantains and custard-and-cake. My mother made the best European desserts at Christmas! There was that thing she call "Blancmange", I have never seen it anywhere else! Then there were the bands of masqueraders, as though we were mixed up between Christmas and Mardi Gras, and visitors coming in and out all day, bringing good wishes for the year end, and the old Huntley and Palmers gem biscuits with or without the frosting on the top, which we ate and strung together for necklaces and tree decorations. In spite of Santa's absence, Christmas was good and filled with generousity and we sang of Jesus all season long! This Christmas I am looking out for fun and rest and recreation. We want to celebrate the year end with greetings of Afehyiapa, literally a good meeting of the ends of the year, as though time was a circle which began and ended at the same point. We now translate this greeting as "Happy New Year!" We want to remember the generousity of God and in so doing motivate ourselves to be generous to people. This is why in celebrating an African Christmas at the GYMC on 16th December, we give a gift to some others to make both ends of the year meet well, for them and for us too.

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