Christmas Retrospective, part 1

Better late than never, I want to share a few thoughts about my first Christmas abroad.

Christmas in Congo approaches slowly. It comes in quiet and without panic. Christmas here is less commercial and more sacred.

The most important holiday tradition occurs on Christmas morning. There are neither stockings with candy nor toys beneath a tree, but rather, a reverent and holy church service. Each person attending the Christmas morning service (donning their very best attire, of course) comes with a gift for Jesus, an offering, which is left for Him by an altar. This present is usually a great sacrifice for the Congolese who have an abundance of nothing. But they give generously and joyfully.

Then a celebration begins. A time of worship with friends and family and the village at large. The university hosted Christine Moze, a professional singer from Uganda, to lead the community in a worship celebration honoring the birth of Christ. Wait. Rewind. Celebration hardly seems the appropriate word-choice. It was a jubilee, festival, fete, gala, jamboree.

Christine Moza, gospel singer from Uganda.

The whole community gathers for the concert.

The whole community gathers for the concert.

Members from the UCBC choir singing along (and dancing, of course).

Neighbor girl caring for her baby brother...I cannot fathom why he is wearing a winter hat and socks (it is 93ºF in Congo).

Me and Meredith (my roommate) wearing our African skirts

Oh, the irony! Is the neighbor girl really wearing a Christmas dress which depicts a snowman!?! I doubt she is aware that the embellishments symbolize the holidays. Presumably, she's simply wearing it because it's her best (if not, only) dress...obviously an American cast-off.

After the concert, the children in the audience have a dance party while the band jams. I'm convinced that Congolese come out of the womb dancing...I've never met so many children with such wonderful rhythm!

Stay tuned for part 2 of the Retrospective…

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One response to “Christmas Retrospective, part 1

  1. Megs,
    All I have to say is I LOVE THE DANCE PARTY! That is really one of my favorite things to do anyway and the picture captures it so well.
    I love your updates and miss you.
    Baby Girl had better have some rhythm, despite being born to very white parents!
    Love, mo

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