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The Joyful Season

Life experience

By Andon DevelopsPublished 22 days ago 5 min read
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The Joyful Season
Photo by Robert Collins on Unsplash

I'm Dami, and I reside in the southwest Nigerian community of Adebayo. Our hamlet has a strong feeling of community and deep-rooted traditions, set amid rolling rivers and verdant hills. We gather together every Christmas season to celebrate in a way that is both deeply ingrained in our traditions and bursting with impromptu happiness.

In Adebayo, the holiday season preparations start early. The whole hamlet comes alive with expectation in December, when the harmattan winds begin to blow, announcing the onset of the dry season. Vibrant colors and the aromas of fresh fruit and spices flood the markets. From homemade decorations and apparel to plantains and yams, vendors have everything to offer.

Like many other families in the village, my family starts by giving our house a thorough cleaning. We paint the walls in cheery hues, clean the windows, and scrub the floors. This custom represents a fresh start and the arrival of good fortune.

We then begin creating the decorations. We make lovely ornaments that we display throughout our house out of palm fronds, vibrant textiles, and shimmering beads. My mother is very skilled at beading elaborate designs, and she teaches us the trade while we sit down to tell stories and laugh together in the evenings.

The neighborhood rivalry for the most decorated houses is one of the most thrilling aspects of the Adebayo holiday season. A few years ago, this custom was started by a group of young villagers called “The Adebayo Future” when they decided to initiate a friendly rivalry to our celebration. It is now a feature in our seasonal celebration.

Every home takes tremendous delight in their displays, and they all participate. There are multiple categories in the competition: Best Theme, Best Use of Lights, Best Window Display, Best Overall Decoration, and Most Creative Theme. The delight of involvement and the companionship it fosters are the only rewards—grand prizes excluded.

My family enthusiastically joins every time. Our theme this year is "A Festival of Lights." We employ a blend of contemporary fairy lights and conventional oil lamps to create a cozy, welcoming ambiance around our house. As an electrician, my father sets up a string of lights that shine like stars. We also put up a nativity scene, which is customary during the holidays in our primarily local community, using materials that were purchased locally.

The village is a hive of activity on the day of the competition. Children run around, appreciating the decorations, as families make last-minute modifications to their displays. When the lights are at their most exquisite in the evening, the judges, a group of esteemed seniors, go about their business.

We assemble in the village square, where someone has started a sizable campfire. Akara (bean cakes), roasted maize, and palm wine are available from various vendors. The sounds of drumming and singing fill the air as traditional tunes performed by local musicians are heard.

We proudly stand by our exhibit when the judges go to our house. They are impressed by the lights, the Nativity scene, and the attention to detail we have used. The Best Overall Decoration is not awarded to us, but we were given an honorable mention for Best Use of Lights, which makes our heart filled with joy.

In Adebayo, the holidays are about more than simply decorations—they're also about giving and sharing. We adhere to the principles of "Omoluabi," which place a strong emphasis on morality and camaraderie. We go above and beyond during this season to assist people in need.

Extra food that my family makes is shared with our neighbors, particularly the elderly and the less poor. We prepare traditional foods like egusi soup, fried plantains, and jollof rice. We attend a special service in the local church on Christmas Day, where we sing songs and express our gratitude for the benefits of the previous year.

We get together for a feast in the afternoons with friends and extended relatives. There is music, laughter, and a scent of delightful food. The adults gather together to gist and the children play different kinds of games.

There are lots of things to do in the days before New Year's to maintain the festive vibe. We plan sports activities and group games. The masquerade dance, in which participants dress in ornate costumes and masks to represent various spirits and deities, is one of the most well-liked activities. Everyone is really happy when they watch the vibrant, upbeat dances.

The village elders regale us with folktales and folklore during our storytelling sessions. These tales, which have been passed down through the ages, preserve our cultural legacy and impart important truths. One of my favorite things about the holidays is listening to these stories while sitting by the fire.

We keep a vigil in the church on New Year's Eve to pray for peace and blessings in the future.

Adebayo's Christmas celebrations are rich in history, but they also have a joyful spontaneity about them. Our celebrations are enhanced with new elements every year, which keeps the atmosphere lively and innovative. For instance, a group of young people staged an unexpected talent show the previous year where the villagers displayed their abilities in comedy, dance, and singing. It was so popular that it could start a new custom.

One of the things that makes our festivities so unique is that they are never exactly the same. We create a festive season that is exclusively ours by embracing both the old and the new.

We take the warmth with us after the holidays go and we take down the decorations and life resumes its regular schedule.

In Adebayo, the holidays are a time of deep happiness, camaraderie, and meaningful customs. It's a time when we join together to commemorate our common history and to make new memories that will strengthen our bonds. In our community, the spirit of the season is evident in several ways, such as the neighborhood decoration competition, communal feasts, and impromptu gatherings.

I am excited and thankful every year when the harmattan winds announce the start of the holidays. It is a blessing to be a part of this happy and caring community, and I value the chance to add to the celebrations and joy. In Adebayo, the holidays are a celebration rather than merely a set of activities.

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About the Creator

Andon Develops

I am a developer and have content writing skills

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  • Esala Gunathilake22 days ago

    Story is well deserved.

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