Christmas, the Acholi way

BENSON ONGOM

Christmas, commonly known as Karama, is one of the days celebrated most In Acholi land.

Homes are decorated and cleaned, children get new clothes for the festive and local alcohol is prepared to feast on during the day.

As a sign of joy and happiness, Aguma dance climaxes the day with many joining the village ceremony where different households come together.

Smiles are brought on the faces of the young ones with new clothes for Karama coupled with the joy that comes with eating meat that day.

The chairs inside the house are decorated with shinny clothes to impress many coming to the home.

I caught up with Mego Hellen Omon while she was making final efforts to make her home receptive; she explained why she was smearing her house with dung.

“We do this to welcome new baby in a home, baby is Jesus. We clean the house, compound and buy new clothes to chased demons and dirt’s that’s in house. You must also make you home receptive for visitors," she said.

Omon said the preparation is also meant to calm and bring the households together and to cleanse the past.

“A lot happens from January to December. People went through a lot like death in home and this is part of calming the community," she said.

Stella Akello said as a woman, it is mandatory to make the home look good.

"My responsibility is to make the home and house look good. I must also make sure the children are well dressed for the day, buying them clothes and even my husband must look good," Akello said.

During the festive season, local alcohol is brewed to feast the family during Karama celebrations.

Traditional dances are mandatory for a get together.

Balmoi Okello, a programme coordinator for the Acholi cultural institution said the Acholi festive celebration is supposed to be based on the traditional values of unity.

Balmoi says Acholis now are copying the western culture of fireworks and others but traditionally, festive activity should cater for everybody and it is a must for everybody to attend fireplaces with the folk’s in-laws.

During end of year, the Acholi’s chase the demons called “Gemo” with a wave of noise from household to household .

This marks a new beginning for the different homes.

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