Posted By: Ras C. Liontree In Response To: Re: How do Rastas deal with Christmas? (Ayinde)
Date: Sunday, 25 December 2005, at 7:31 a.m.
In Response To: Re: How do Rastas deal with Christmas? (Ayinde)
Debra and I have a two year old and four year old. One year ago tonight we were in Nazaret Ethiopia. After a reggae show by our bredren and sistren of The Imperial Majesty Band we all headed together 45 minutes away to Sodere Hot Springs under the full moon. It was a blessed and mystic evening being continents away from the hype of "Christmas". Sydney Salmon, the lead singer, suggested we stop by a tiny orthodox church on our way home. Under the moonlight we could see through the window of the 12 foot in diameter church five stairs going down into a small steaming pool. We all assume this is a church for water baptism. So last year we had no challenges with our children and Christmas.
Fast forwarding one year to the present. Debra and my children sleep not dreaming of rain deer and gifts. I've lit a fire in the wood stove and will burn frankincense when the coals are hot... its just another day, though it is special because we are all "off" from paid work.
Jahniya, my eldest, has been challenged at school when her friends all say Santa is real. Outside of that and the usual questions from familiar people to the girls like, "are you ready for Santa" we have very little exposure to the Christmas dis-ease. With no T.V and very little radio the hype is not in my childrens face.
The most challenging thing is that my parents live nearby and want to celebrate with us. Debra and I got out of this need last year by being in Ethiopia. This year we with my parents seven days ago, just the adults, to share our different needs around the "holiday" time. Specifically for Debra and I it is to not try an make the 25th different from any other day so no presents, stories about baby Jesus, or decorating an inside tree. We acknowledged together the opportunity, because we are off from paid work, to do some fun things like sunset walks, cooking vegetarian dinners together, and reading proverb stories from Ghana where all of us, my parents included, have been. Yesterday I was proud of my Mom who I know is mourning not celebrating with us traditionally when she came over and made red, gold, and green paper chains with her grandaughters. They loved it and do not associate this craft with Christmas.
Debra and I brought snack in last week to Jahniya's school because it was our turn. Other classes were having cake and christmas parties but Jahniya's teacher, as I found out, is adamant about no sugar and not leaving people out by celebrating holidays. This is Jahniya's teacher's first year in this school and could tell something was wrong when I came in to pick up Jahniya. The teacher felt so alone because parents and mainly other teachers did not overstand her not having the class celebrate. On the last before break I asked how all of the tofu, sweet potato pumpkin seed bread, popcorn with nutritional yeast...snack had been that we brought in and she shared how grounding they had been. I thanked her for not doing the cake and parties. She, who had been judged as the school scroog, was so thankful to hear that at least one set of parents was in tune to her reasoning.
There are challenges with holidays and parenthood and I believe ours will come more as the children grow older. I sense in Jahniya that she would like to celebrate because celebration is fun but InI do celebrate each and every breath which she is in tune to.
In terms of the tree I did honor my children's desire to buy one...we've been buying fruit trees for the last 2 years planting an orchard so when the girls saw all the Christmas trees and heard about everyone buying one they pleaded for us to as well. I went with them and found a small live tree which we will plant soon when the ground unfreezes. It is standing outside receiving the sun and will be planted in our field to provide privacy for our fire pit.
I have a radio show tonight and I've been asked to include "Christmas Reggae" by some of the radio personnel. This goes against my heart so I've received a good sound drop from Sister Melody, a local Jamaican Rastafari burning Christmas. I will play that before and after an old school Alton Ellis "Christmas" song.
In terms of January 7th Ethiopian Christmas my family and I will hold a Niyabinghi for our community on the night of the 6th. No presents just presence of InI bredren and sistren yanting Ises unto Queen Menen and Haile Selassie I Jah Rastafari.
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