Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Christmas is coming.......really?

I can not believe it is Christmas day on Monday. I do not feel in the slightest bit Christmassy. As I have grown up, each year has felt less like Christmas. However this year it could be August for all I know. Usually I get excited by the twinkling lights, especially when the room is all dark apart from the lights on the Christmas tree. Or there is the odd song that gives me a warm gooey feeling inside, for example, 'I'm driving home for Christmas'. The Christmas carols always give me a nice Christmassy feeling too.

This year I have none of that, no Christmas songs playing anywhere, no little sparkly lights, no decorations and only the odd carol. Christmas is only one day here in Cameroon, it is not a whole month or more like at home. There has been no long run-up since November not even anything this week. It has been great to miss out on all the hype, the over-the-top houses that use a years supply of electricity in a few weeks and the irritating songs in every shop, none of that I miss. What I will miss is all the great stuff that comes with Christmas day. They turkey and all the trimmings, the sharing of presents, fitting in seeing all the family in a couple of days (stressful but enjoyable to see so many people in such little time).

Christmas day itself is a bank holiday (boxing day is not). It is not a big family day, people do not travel to be with their families like we do. Women and children will get a new dress (which is often their only present), if they do not get a new dress they throw a big strop and this can lead to divorce (I am told). People go to church in the morning, however as I understand it Genesis and Marceline have decided to not celebrate Christmas due to its pagan origins and that the meaning of Christmas is not lost. I think this is over-reacting a little as you can always refocus yourself on the Christian origins. In the afternoon the day would be like any other Sunday, many people would see it as a chance to catch up on sleep (not that different to England, big meal, few glasses of wine and a nap!). Children would visit the local houses and be given various treats. The result of this is that households prepare far too much food then have nothing left to eat the rest of the week.

In the evening is when the parties begin and the adults enjoy Christmas. Young people go out to the pubs and clubs, drink far too much and stay out all night.

All in all it sounds pretty different to an English Christmas, we are planning on getting away and spending Christmas on the beach. Maybe I can tell you more about Cameroon Christmas after the event.


Margaret said...

We will all miss you too but be with you in spirit

alison said...

Christmas on the beach sounds good, isn't that what happens in Australia? The best way to ensure that new dress under the Christmas tree is to buy it yourself and bill it to your husband.

Clare said...

Surely there must be santa in the red suit? He's the invention of Coca Cola, so he must have made it to Africa!