I was a bit stuck for what to do in language class today, until the obvious dawned on me. Why not describe (in Acoli of course) what happens at Christmas in New Zealand, and compare it to what happens in Acoli land! It quickly became apparent that some New Zealand traditions (mostly old English remnants) are beyond bizarre. While here in Acoli land wonderful things happen like drawing massive pictures of Jesus and Mary on the wall of your house, and a form of ‘secret santa’ at church – we have a fat man with magic flying reindeer. And it all seemed so normal for so many years …..
I challenge you to explain to someone from a different cultural background (in another language).
1) Why do we eat turkey at Christmas, and ONLY at Christmas?
2) Why do (or did) we fill a cake with coins and then set it on fire?
3) Why do we put presents in a large sock? (This one was especially fun, its not easy justifying a meter long sock)
4) A Christmas cracker
5) How does Santa Claus tie in with the real meaning of Christmas?
Despite these hurdles, I was surprised by how much we had in common, like the focus on family, fighting due to high stress levels, eating until you are completely ‘Odeng’ (overfull), and spending money beyond our means!
We’ll follow this up soon with a story about our fantastic Christmas experience here, but until then I hope your festive season is a rich time with some rest as well. Thanks so much for all your prayers, letters, e-mails and internet video calls. They’ve been a great help to us through this period of change.
- What is that? seriously!