That village experiences ranked low on coolness scale wasn't just a figment of my imagination. It was fact. I remember once when schools resumed after the holidays, the class clown kept telling everyone that he had called three people during the vacation. Let’s call them Adwoba, Adzo and Esi (Me). The guy said that when he called Adwoba, he was told that she had gone to the
So today I thought I’d finally write about how I spent my Christmas holidays. It may be fifteen years too late but they say it's better late than never.
My christmas holidays usually began with a six-hour bus ride from
Once we’d gotten home (my grandparents' house), we’d start the Christmas proper. The main highlights of Christmas in the village were
- Fancy Dress competition between the two fancy dress groups also known as kakamotobi (Japanese sounding Ga word for fancy dress/ masquerade costume) in the village. The two groups entertained with their dancing, climbing specially-mounted tall bamboo poles, and performing tricks at its top once they got there. The tricks included taking of their clothes and wearing new ones at the top of the pole. Some of the men walked on stilts and others danced in their costumes, swinging switches in energetic feet-stamping, arm swinging dances.
- Door to door singing by the singing bands of many of the churches in the village. Their Christmas carols were sung in Fanti and the house to house trips were made at dawn.
During one of those holidays spent in the village, I’d taken along a white shirt that my aunt had bought me from Marks and Spencer, tags still intact. Now that I think about it, this too is similar to the way that Ghanaians living abroad bring new clothes when they visit Ghana. I wore my new white shirt and green togas (tr: loose fitting pants). Then, feeling tres bien, (tr:good), went to join in the masquerade costume party. By the time the evening of dancing was over, my white shirt had turned brown, from my own sweat, mixed with red dust, and pushing and shoving by other dancers. No amount of washing, or blue (blue is a blue powder which Ghanaians usually add to water to make a solution for rinsing white clothing. The blue solution is believed to whiten clothes) could turn the shirt white again. I was very upset about the condition of my new white top, now turned brown, and so the brown dust has now become part of my Christmas memories.
One thing that strikes me is that I don't associate giving and receiving presents with christmas, though i'm sure that many Ghanaian families do this (even my siblings who came ten years after me have had christmas' when they received wrapped presents after my aunt's dutch friend introduced it in our family) but it's not something that formed part of my own childhood. I do however remember getting the usual bronya atar (christmas dress) which I'd wear to the village church on christmas day, but those were never wrapped.
If anyone were to ask me what images christmas brings to mind, I’d say that when I think of christmas, I think of red dust, chilly harmattan mornings, fancy dress, eating food from other people’s homes, chips, cakes, and batter-coated peanuts, danish butter cookies (because we always got them for my grandma at christmas), piccadilly biscuits, door-to-door singing, long bus rides, and snails crawling in our kitchen once we got back to Accra:)
What about you? What comes to mind when you think of Christmas in Ghana / how did you spend your christmas holidays?