Hot!Write with The Father's Feather Today!Join Us
38°C
April 20, 2024
Santa's Coming for Us

Do They Know It’s Christmas?

  • December 22, 2023
  • 13 min read
  • 628 Views
Do They Know It’s Christmas?

CHAPTER 1

Christmas is just a celebration; nothing more. If I can just get to know more about Christmas…

“Hey, baby sister. So, what are you thinking about writing for Christmas? You need your own space to work in, right? But don’t stay up too late – it’s getting late.

Growing up in Nigeria, Christmas held a unique culture and magic that was unlike anything I had experienced elsewhere. The sound of the flute playing solemnly in a world created by me, a woman asked me what I was doing there. I couldn’t explain it, I was perplexed. “Come along,” she said, and the gangan drums kept beating while the sakara drums didn’t stop.

As I made my way to the center of the village, I couldn’t help but feel like I had entered a different world. The air was filled with the sound of drums, gangan, and sakara, creating hypnotic rhythm that seemed to pull me forward. “What are you doing over there? Join us to dance!” someone shouted. Curious, I hurried over to join in the celebration and dance until our limbs were numb. We kept moving without stopping, dancing in a banta dance.

Surrounded by people moving in sync to the music, I found myself swept up in the celebration. The banta dance, a traditional style of dancing in Nigeria, took control of my body as if I had practiced it my whole life. It was as if the spirit of Christmas had infused itself within me.

While dancing, I couldn’t ignore the burning questions inside me. “What are we celebrating?” I finally asked aloud. Surprised, the people around me laughed and invited me to listen.

Gathering in a circle, they explained the significance of Christmas and its connection to salvation. As they spoke, their words resonated deep within me, and I felt a sense of belonging. This was not just a festive gathering; it was a celebration of unity and joy.

The Yoruba banta spirits, mischievous yet captivating, were symbols of the miraculous nature of Christmas. They brought us together, bridging the gap between the physical and spiritual worlds.

The night continued with even more fervor. The music grew louder, the fireworks painted the sky, and the dancing intensified. We danced and danced until our limbs were numb, but the energy and excitement never waned.

Our hearts and souls were intertwined, bound by the spirit of Christmas and the magic of the banta. It was a night I would never forget, an experience that left me speechless.

As the night came to an end, the banta spirits returned to the underworld, leaving me to contemplate the gift that Christmas had brought along. But I couldn’t seem to go back to where I came from; it was as if I had traveled back in time to learn something special, as if I had come here to achieve something and to unravel the beauty of this whole dilemma. I was still perplexed, wondering why I was the only one in the village market square who think it’s funny that everyone was wearing iro and buba with no shoes. I had no choice but to approach a little girl who walked past me. I had to ask her, “Which year are we in?” She replied, “We are in the year 1980. Aren’t we supposed to be in the year 2023, going on to 2024?” I was taken aback. “What’s that? Oh, I’m sorry, I was talking to myself. What’s going on? This can’t be real. It’s not even possible. It must be a dream. I just need to wake up. I know I had fun over here, but I still need to go home.”

Immediately, a sort of cloud overwhelmed me. I felt something pulling me away into the darkness. I couldn’t see a thing, but it felt strangely comforting. “Who are you? What am I doing here?” I whispered into the void.

CHAPTER 2

Who are you? It looks like it’s the first time I am seeing you here. What do you mean? What’s going on here, and why am I decked up? One of the ladies next to me said, “I think she hurt her head. What an innocent young girl. She must have hurt her head badly.”

After moments of argument, a woman came right in. “What are you all doing? You are not all dressed properly yet. Sorry ma, the lady over here keeps denying that she doesn’t know who she is, and she doesn’t want to do this.”

“Don’t mind her. I forced her to come out here, that’s why she is behaving like this,” the woman continued. “Don’t mind her. She is Chioma, my last daughter. Just deck her up and let’s get started with the Nwa Nwaanyi, the beauty pageant that celebrates the elegance and grace of Igbo women. This event allows young women to display their traditional attire, demonstrate their talents, and promote cultural pride. I am sure we all know that.”

“So let’s all do our best and carry ourselves with elegance. The ogene keeps ringing so loud, rhyming with the ikolo sounds, and I think I am going to lose it any time soon. My ears won’t stop ringing. I think I traveled back in time again, this time to Igbo land. This can’t be real. Why is my head in a jumble? I need to wake up. I don’t have time for all this silly beauty pageant thing. I need to put my head together and calm down. I need to do what I need to do and leave here, even though I don’t know what to do for now. Let me follow the other ladies and do the Nwa Nwaanyi. Wow, they all look so beautiful. They clamor from afar. Look at my beautiful daughter. She is amazingly elegant. I suppose Chioma’s father, and why are my feet so stable? Chioma must have prepared and practiced for the beauty pageant, so I shouldn’t ruin it for her. This is amazing. All our village maidens performed well, but we just have to choose the winner. So, we have come to the conclusion that the most beautiful maiden who performed well is none other than Chioma. Who must that be?” I asked.

“They are calling out to you,” said a lady by my side. Oops! I forgot. I am Chioma. “Come and claim your prize,” they told me. “Thank you,” I said. “But can I ask you all a question because I am lost? What’s going on here? What’s the celebration? What’s happening?” Everybody couldn’t stop laughing. My question was funny. It was written all over their faces.

“Today, we are celebrating the Christmas season, which is called ‘Iri Ji Nke’ or ‘New Yam Festival.’ It is a time to celebrate the harvest, give thanks to the gods, and honor the ancestors. The festivities typically last for several days.”

On Christmas Eve, Igbo families come together to partake in a ceremonial feast called ‘Ofe Owerri.’ This feast is a grand affair featuring a variety of sumptuous dishes made from freshly harvested yams, vegetables, and spices. Traditional Igbo music and dance performances accompany the feast, creating an atmosphere of joy and merriment.”

“As part of Igbo Christmas celebrations, the community organizes colorful masquerade displays known as ‘Mmanwu.’ Masked dancers dressed in elaborate costumes perform mesmerizing dances, entertaining and captivating the onlookers. These performances are believed to bring blessings, protection, and good fortune for the upcoming year.”

“However, the Igbo celebrate Christmas by participating in ‘Nwa Nwaanyi,’ a beauty pageant that showcases the elegance and grace of Igbo women. This event allows young women to display their traditional attire, demonstrate their talents, and promote cultural pride. Like what you just did now, I am sure you’re just being naive because you are still young. So, do you mean I am going to be here for some days?” I asked. They all laughed again.

“But this is serious. I need to go back home,” I thought to myself. I collected my prize and went over to take my seat. “My parents would be proud of Chioma, probably if that exists. Now they called on people with special presentations. The presentations were nice, no lie. But they called Chioma as the seventh person to present. Who is Chioma again?” Chioma’s mom had to push me to stand and go out to present. Silly! So, I think I am Chioma, and I don’t even have anything to present. I hope I don’t disgrace Chioma.

As soon as I got to the stage, something controlled my lips, and lyrics came out of them.

(Listen to the song titled “Do They Know it’s Christmas?”)

“It’s Christmas time, there’s no need to be afraid. At Christmas time, we let in light and we banish shade. And in our world of plenty, we can spread a smile of joy. Throw your arms around the world at Christmas time. But say a prayer, pray for the other ones. At Christmas time, it’s hard, but when you’re having fun. There’s a world outside your window, and it’s a world of dread and fear. Where the only water flowing is the bitter sting of tears. And the Christmas bells that ring there are the clanging chimes of doom. Well, tonight, thank God it’s them instead of you. And there won’t be snow in Africa this Christmas time. The greatest gift they’ll get this year is life. Where nothing ever grows, no rain nor rivers flow. Do they know it’s Christmas time at all? (Here’s to you) raise a glass for everyone. (Here’s to them) underneath that burning sun. Do they know it’s Christmas time at all? Feed the world, let them know it’s Christmas time again.” I sang.

Everybody stood and kept on clapping non-stop. Chioma must have loved Christmas a lot. This is a song by Band Aid, which was released in the year 1984. I learned it in my history class. And something made me love Band Aid’s song. The basic fact that they said there won’t be snow in Africa. I have never come across snow since I was born, but there is love to carry, and there is life to hope for. Even some people live in pain during this period of love, counting their numbered days, wishing they could breathe their last. Just thank God you are not one of them. But most importantly, “feed the world, let them know it’s Christmas,” just like now. I sense a great deal of love in the atmosphere. I am sure this is Christmas to them. They were still clapping, even though I was still lost in thought. But in my mind, since Band Aid sang this song in the year 1984, which year am I in? Immediately, I can feel the surge. It’s happening again. Something is going to carry me away to somewhere I don’t know.

CHAPTER 3

Get your kwaranga, kauji, and korari; these are special wood carvings used for unique purposes. The kwaranga is carved from a single piece of wood and adorned with intricate geometric patterns, often becoming a cherished family heirloom.

Additionally, we have the kauji, a wooden chest used to store the remains of important community members. It is intricately carved from a single piece of wood, featuring elaborate geometric patterns and symbols.

The korari, on the other hand, serves as a headrest for sleeping. It is carved from a single piece of wood and often decorated with intricate geometric patterns and scenes from Kanuri mythology. These artifacts are truly magnificent, and it’s the first time I’ve seen such beauty. By the way, what’s your name? My name Aisha, Aisha didn’t you hear me call you.Oh, you’re Aisha. Can I buy the kauji? Of course, thank you for purchasing it.

So my name is Aisha. Who are you? Why are you acting strange? I’m your sister, silly. What year is it? Did you hit your head or something? We’re in the year 1980. Oh no, it’s happening again. I lost control for a moment. So, what’s happening here? What’s the reason for celebration? Although my little sister is a talented artisan, she can be a bit scatterbrained.

Today, we are celebrating “Lidan Damaye,” which is Christmas for the Kanuri people. It signifies “The Birth of Peace.” This is a time for families to gather and celebrate the birth of Jesus while praying for peace and prosperity.

During this festive season, the Kanuri culture showcases its rich artistic heritage through breathtaking arts and crafts exhibitions. Skilled artisans present intricate wood carvings, vibrant woven fabrics, and traditional pottery, creating a visual spectacle. This celebration of creativity and craftsmanship exemplifies the cultural pride and appreciation for art within the Kanuri community, just like what you’re doing right now.

So, Aisha, shall we pack up your wood carvings and fully immerse ourselves in the festival? Let’s go and enjoy the festivities together.

Suddenly, a bell kept ringing in my ear, ding, dang echoing without ceasing. I felt a strange movement, and as I stood up, I realized I was in my own room. It was just a dream. I checked the time; it was 3 am. I guess I’m back to reality.

My dream felt so vivid, as if I had spent a hundred years in that alternate world. It was an amazing experience. I quickly reached for my diary and began writing everything down. The fan whirred loudly as if dancing with my excitement. Santa Claus has already visited us, but we never believed he came. We would eagerly check under the Christmas tree the next morning, only to find no gifts. Maybe there was no snow, just the brown sand we were accustomed to. We used to say that Santa never came to us. But every Christmas is a miracle, a healing. Even with little at home, when the food is cooked on Christmas day, it tastes more delicious. It’s because it’s Christmas.

As I continued writing, immersed in my thoughts, it was already 6 pm. A song playing on the radio pulled me back to the present – “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” by Mariah Carey 1980. I jokingly said, “Don’t tell me I have to travel back in time again.” My family burst into laughter, not fully understanding the depth of my remark. But deep down, only I knew the full details. Santa is always with us, after all.

Anyway, Merry Christmas.

About Author

Faith Oluwadamilola Ayoade

22 Comments

  • This is nice
    And using dreams waking up 3am when the cock start crowling
    Traveling back in time and bringing the beauty of the 3 tribes and the true beauty of Christmas you are talented boss

    • Thanks
      For commenting

      • This is lovely.

        More knowledge and inspiration.

        • Tanx for commenting

  • This is lovely keep it up

    • Thanks a lot

  • I love Thia

    • Tanx

  • So amazing, it’s quite making alot of sense I really love this ❤️

    • Tanx for commenting

  • Nice one

    • Tanx

  • This is so nice
    I give you 100% for imagination it’s so nice outside the box nice thinking
    And bringing out the reality that Santa doesn’t only make Christmas but loves those the way you used the Dreamworld and making each chapter talk about different tribes is epic and unique
    Just for some grammatical errors noticed the rest are spectacular this is raw talent keep it up and don’t let the imagination go to waste.

  • Tanx alot and tanx for the criticism and taking your time to read and as well like and correct

  • Beautiful

    • Tanx

  • Nice write up
    More Grace

  • Tanx for the comment ❤️❤️

  • It’s a beautiful write up.

    • Tanx for the comment

  • The LORD bless your creative Spirit in Jesus name.

    Well-done, Sis.

    • Tanx sis❤️❤️

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *