Pic is from last years Christmas 🎄
Is Christmas a choice?
Living in Shags (village) made Christmas celebration more of an obligation than a sincere acknowledgement of Christ has been born. I was condemned to celebrate the birth of Christ since birth because I descended from a christian family. I honestly don’t care much about religion but I am me.
Outfit(s)/ Sunday best
Well, if you didn’t get new clothes any other time of the year then you literally prayed for the end the year. You knew your parents would get you a new pair of jeans, shoe or dress. The so called cinderella dresses…men those were everything for most girls. If you had a “beef” going on with your parents and for some reason you knew they wouldn’t get you a new something you hoped to get a new outfit from your far away/ town relatives.
There are some who automatically bought you new outfits every Christmas. On Christmas eve I’m not sure there was a child/kid who slept due to the anticipation of wearing something new which would later become a Sunday outfit. We called them Sunday best outfit. Worn only on Sundays or on special occasions. The 90’s kids feel me on this one.
I mean that is the time you know you will eat Chapatis/Fladenbrot/flatbread like no other time of the year. Talking of those days I was young and we all looked forward to this time of year. The number Goats, cows and chicken that were/are sacrificed around this time of year is insanely massive. People swim in meat and dogs dance to the bone as they slurp the marrow. The chicken cries you hear from one homestead to the next as you walk to the village town to show off your new shoes that don’t even match your jacket almost deafen you but what is Christmas?
So us kids anticipated on all the different types of juices and sodas that would be circulated around the whole day. I mean I can talk about the alcohol, but normally that was for the wazee’s (men/older guys). I only came to see my aunties sipping wine during Christmas when I was a teenager. And I was shocked. My inner expression was surely anything is possible on this earth.
Christmas is not Christmas if on Christmas eve you don’t hear that one drunken drunkard singing the latest gospel song over and over and surrendering his life to Christ. Only come new years he’s back to the bottle. Vicious alcoholic circle.
You have left a few members of the family sitting in circles each with either a knife, a carrot peeler or a carrot grater and definitely some armed with the funniest story ever. All of them have shukas/kanga/leso (A special cloth) tied on the waists.
(In the background you can here one auntie telling Shiro to bring her a leso.) “dehera shuka usio wi hau”
The bursty laughters stamp the mood ‘“A Christmas mood.”
You all have that auntie who commands attention by that one hilarious story she keeps going over every Christmas and it never grows old.
So if you happen to live with your grandparents and you have some relatives who live in other towns but they value Christmas, then you are sure they will visit. Some come a few days to Christmas and stay till new years and most leave on 26th. You in the village are excited to see them and of course can’t wait to receive their presents. You see and treat them like the gods of the city. They sleep under the best bedsheets washed in softener.
They bring with them many benefits . You know you’ll take a break from Githeri (Kenyan chili).
The hard maize especially that is if you usually find this on the menu 3-4 times a week. By the way what is a menu in Shags? Other benefits are you know some of them will give you their pocket change and you will spend it buying balloons at your favorite shopkeepers shop. It’s time for chopping & blowing money.
Except that you are completely excited to spend time with your cousins and show them the rabbits you can play with and take them to the stream downhill you also want to hear some of them bragging about the town life. The newest playstation or doll they have. It is a competition of who got what and from who and who went where with who.
And there is that one cousin if not two who is the one you have been waiting to see and you are complete. That cousin crush of yours. That cousin who makes Christmas more Christmas-ssy. You will both be over each other shamelessly telling each other that you wish you were not cousins. And if you don’t tell then the glares you steal from each tell that.
There is church of course. Depending on your denomination some have to go witness the birth of Jesus through the programs and acts specially made on this day. And also Ironically take/receive/eat the body of Christ. Youngsters like us were mostly halfway or noway following. Our stomachs were rambling and screaming to be fed. Everyone is absolutely ravenous and can’t wait to dive into the mutura(Filled intestines) and Chapati. Why lie!
It is absolutely beautiful seeing that in all corners everyone is sincerely happy. Even if it’s for a moment. The joy and happiness can be seen on almost everyones face. Family putting aside their differences and actually coming together to spend time and eat together. Reminiscing on the good old days and making moves to forgive each other. Nothings beats that.
I’m not sure there is any other event that I have witnessed bring family together such as this. I honestly miss a Kenyan Christmas setting. Next year I hope I don’t miss out. This FOMO is real.
I might be confused on the real meaning of Christmas, but seeing even the most needy people smile and greet you merry Christmas and exchange laughter, that is is Christmas enough.
Ps: To those of you who take on projects of like lets say feeding and dressing those in need, keep doing good and may it come back in tenth-folds. Thank you for your kindness.
May you Never loose inspiration.