Our Christmas Past

Many years gone past, Christmas in Ghana was a festive occasion where we had a feeling of belongingness, good neighborliness, spirit of sharing and giving to the extent that we saw each other as one people irrespective of tribe, creed, race or gender. Can we go back and talk about how we celebrated the festive occasion? Several of these local stories will just fascinate and amaze you. Below are some of the stories shared with me by friends who have nostalgic feelings about how they celebrated Christmas some years ago.

Children in the localities will build Christmas houses using palm fronds, which are well decorated with flowers and these huts are well built with a chamber and a hall. We also had bamboo with explosives in them and we blasted till midnight, we light bonfires, children visit their friends in their numbers. The children sleep in these huts till the New Year and the huts are then destroyed. They enjoy having their meals in these huts.

“Also children walk through the communities with some “Bronya” (Christmas) tunes, they sing around the neighborhoods beating some “konkos” (empty tins, Milo or Milk tins etc) and stop by homes and get some foods and drinks as well. Anything goes.”-Naomi Kokuro

“I travel to my hometown and all the towns in that area have picnics with brass band. All the youth from these towns dance through all the other surrounding towns till New year. Each day a different town’s youth will pass through all the other towns singing and dancing. My gradma cooks chicken light soup with fufu and after we’re done eating she gives us soft drinks and bronya biscuits.”-Marian Clara Adeaba

”During Christmas, we will buy firecrackers and engage our friends across the street in a firecracker battle to find out who has the most powerful firecrackers.”-Yao Kumadoh

“We called ours Knockout, every child will cry to their parents to give them coins to buy firecrackers aka knockout so they can light them. It was fun.” “My dad will sew three different dresses for us every Bronya, one each for 24th night, Christmas and New Year. With my new “three sisters socks.”- Marian Clara Adeaba

“Every 24th night we will go to church and sing Christmas songs and pray to welcome Christmas and the birth of Christ.”-Naomi Kokuro

“Every Christmas we will start cooking the special food in the morning and eat it as supper.”-Marian Clara Adeaba

“Our parents prepare food and share with our neighbours. My grandma always buy biscuits, drinks and goat meat and share with the tenants in our house, and ever since it has become the norm.”

“New dresses were sewn for us to be worn on Christmas Sunday. This time, from now till Christmas day, children who are stubborn become obedient. If you like send them to the moon, they will go because they fear you will not buy  bronya atade3 (Christmas dresses) for them.”-Naomi Kokuro

You can also share your stories with me. Tell me how you celebrated Christmas some years ago in your localities.

 

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Childhood Memories; The Mango Raids

It was a very hot afternoon and the kids were feeling restless. They were on vacation and they were so much bored with staying in the house. School was to reopen in two weeks. They wanted the days to move quickly so that they can go back to school and have more fun. Staying in the house was boring for them. Their parents were also at their work places and they always left early in the morning and came back late in the evening. Before they left they made sure that their breakfast and lunch have been prepared. The lunch was always in the fridge, the children had to rely on Kofi who was the eldest to heat the food for them in the afternoon. The long vacation always coincided with the harvesting of mangoes. Thus, the mango season was here and the children decided to organize a series of raids into people’s farms for mangoes. They therefore sent three of the boys around to survey the area and map out all the mango trees.

It was now left with how to execute these plans. They first had to tackle the mango trees in the Ghana Water Company yard. They picked four gallons and entered the yard under the pretext of going to fetch water. Kwame hid behind the wall with a sack whiles Kwadwo, Kwabena and Kofi entered the yard with the gallons. Kofi climbed the mango tree and started plucking the ripe mangoes. He then threw them to Kwame who was a very good catcher and it went into the sack. In about ten minutes the sack was half full. Two of the gallons filled with water were then taken out of the yard by the two boys leaving Kofi on the tree. Kwadwo and Kwabena went back into the yard and Kofi then climbed down from the tree. Kwame was gone with the sack of mangoes by the time the boys were finally leaving the yard. This raid was successful as it was carefully planned and executed with so much dexterity and precision. The boys could not hide their joy when they got home and started enjoying the mangoes. They could imagine the look on the faces of the security man and some of the workers during their lunch break. They will be amazed as to how the ripe mangoes vanished from the tree. Thus the boys have found an activity to while away the remaining days of this boring vacation. Whose mango tree was next? Agya Owusu’s farm was next.

There were rumors in the neighborhood of Agya Owusu’s extreme wickedness. Thus he meted instant justice to anyone who was caught stealing from his farm. There were three big mango trees on his farm and no one dare climb any of the trees to pluck the mangoes. The boys decided to raid his farm and they were ready to face the consequences. As usual, they sent two of the boys to do some reconnaissance of the farm. They came back with the information that the man was not on the farm. Another boy was posted at the entrance of the man’s house and he was to run towards the farm and shout the moment he saw the man heading towards his farm. The sacks were secured and the boys entered the farm, climbed the trees. One person was left to stand under the tree to fill the sack. The raid was going on well until the sentry posted at Agya Owusu’s house failed to notice that there was a backdoor to the house. The man decided to pass through the backdoor on his way to the farm only for him to get there and see some children harvesting his mangoes. He shouted and the one with the sack picked up the sack and bolted like lightening. The other two on the tree decided to pluck the hard unripe mangoes and pelted Agya Owusu with them. Since he could not defend himself from the mango attack, he also ran back to the house with his face swollen. The boys then got down from the tree and also ran back to their house. When the boys got home, they started laughing and at that same moment the sentry showed up breathing heavily.  He had to run for his dear life when he saw Agya Owusu running towards his house. Meanwhile another person’s mango tree was being targeted. They decided to be extra vigilant this time around and also take every precautionary measure to protect and defend themselves during the raids. They also mapped out several escape routes and always had a plan B in case their plan failed. Thus these are some of the childhood memories. I hope a lot of people can relate. In fact, the mangoes raided from people’s farms were more enjoyable than those sold at the market.