SHS student shares his country’s holiday tradition

Garkhor Kulia, Reporter

I am glad to share my traditional christmas story that was more than trees and twinkling lights, more than toys and gifts and baubles of many varieties. To me, it is a story of love and magnificence.
Most of the time, I celebrated christmas in my home town in the countryside. This idea was believed by my grandparents as a way of educating me and my siblings on the traditional way of life, which, for some reason, has no difference between christianity and my traditional way of believing in God, since we live in the city.
The celebration begun on Christmas eve on the side of a dusty road in a tiny village known as Akobo. Akobo is located along the Nile river in South Sudan bordering Ethiopia. There was no glittering Christmas trees, no twinkling lights, not a toy or a gift, but yet it will always be remembered as the best christmases of my life.
As I remember my first christmas, I am transported back in time to that day I marched with choir, sunday schools, women groups, evangelists, church elders in whites, the deacons in robin’s egg blue, in the middle of a dust road with few trees on either side, flanked by traditional round mud huts with grass roofs.
The children danced excitedly waiting for the festivities to begin. The men are always dressed in suits and ties inspite of the blistering heat. The enchanting and Hoolalation of women amazes me, as they dressed in their Lowallas (long scarves wrapped and tied over one shoulder).
At 3 p.m., the people gathered in the dusty road and lined up in military precision. Its organized according to age and height. Young adults and teens in front carrying banners, and flags. They also carried beautiful native drums made from the trunks of trees with animal hides. Then, an organized line of men sporting megaphones walked down the street on either side to keep the lines in order. People marched up and down the wide roads singing, till darkness begins to fall over. This is not only one church but different churches organized their own marchings. Sometimes the marching groups meet in synchronization, but again organized on the bypassing groups.
Then people spent the night in the church and a scene would played that demonstrated the baby Jesus being born. That is the part I liked most, as you can listen to some voice like that of a new baby being born. On Sunday, people go back to church and pray and the holiday continued till new year.