Marau na Kerisimasi

fiji1A pleasant Christmas to you from Manu!

In The Covered Bet, Namuamua Philip Manu began his story about his life in Fiji. He didn’t get to their Christmas celebrations. Today, in the center of our Black Fridays, Green Mondays and Purple Wednesdays, take a deep breath, close your eyes and picture white sand beaches and temps in the 70’s—80’s.

Since Fijians changed their life-style (read Manu’s account,) they celebrate freedom from their former ways by celebrating Jesus’ birth big time. Two weeks before December 25, village people gather together at the largest house in the community and stay there till two weeks after New Year’s Day. That’s a whole month of guests!

They sing and dance and decorate Christmas trees with ribbons and candles. Special food is still cooked in the lovo, an oven filled with stones, placed in front of their homes. The Christmas feast table has garlic and spice filled chicken, pork, beef or fish wrapped in leaves and cooked in coconut cream. (Have you heard how good coconut is for us? I might be brave enough to try this.) If you’re tired of washing dishes, beach picnics are fun, although some continue them until the New Year!

Fijians love singing. When the lali, the Fijian drum, calls them to church Wesleyan hymns and Christmas carols are sung with gusto. A beautiful sound!

fiji2Father Christmas arrives by boat. Ponies stand in for reindeer that whisk him away to visit villages. Here, looks like he left his boots on the sand inside the lali. Imagine wearing hot boots!

 

 

fiji3

“The coat of arms is very significant because it has the word of God, then it has the two warriors and the Fijian canoe. It shows we embrace God.” This quote from a member of the Fijian parliament says the story. They are still Fijian. They harbor others in their island chain, but they belong to God. Marau na Kerisimasi from Namuamua Philip Manu!

And Merry Christmas from me—roberta !

p.s. The Father Christmas boots are actually a cute, new set of salt and pepper shakers! If you’d like them, leave a comment –no— this time not here! Go to my Facebook author page and say so. 

If your name is drawn, I will send them to you. Offer ends Dec. 19. See you there! 

“Mom, it’s Shaking”

Cultures/nationalities fascinate me. Each has much to offer the rest of us. In The Covered Bet, God’s diversity shows up big time. Count as you read.

GeiringerfjordOne of my character favorites, Gudmann Nordstrom, is patterned after a late dear friend who took an active part in the Norwegian resistance in WWII.

I like throwing a party where everyone brings something depicting his/her background. In Gudmann’s honor, we begin this celebration season with how our Norwegian friends celebrate Christmas.

 

 

stluciaSaint Lucia’s Day, December 13, is a major feast day. The eldest daughter in a house rises before the rest of the family to prepare coffee and rolls which she carries to her parents.

Wisdom says the parents should expect this act of love. I’m not Norwegian but liking the tradition, prepared the food, went down the hill to my new in-laws’ house and rang the door bell. They were asleep. They were of German descent, not Norwegian. They weren’t happy. (The beginning of learning about marriage!)

Later in the day, a Norwegian town goes into feast mode. A young girl dressed in a white dress and a red sash, wears a crown or wreath of candles on her head, portraying light through the winter days. She or her attendants, in a long procession, carry rolls and cookies as they sing, most likely representing giving to one another. A beautiful custom!

lutefiskI was a little girl, at my grandparent’s house for Christmas Eve dinner. I remember sitting still, hands in lap, staring at the first course. “Mama, it’s shaking!” Mom always followed up with “I know. Just try a bite.” Hah! When I finally did, it tasted like I knew it would… However everyone else liked lutefisk. Being Finnish, we had white sauce on top of the lye-soaked gelatinous cod. For me, it didn’t help this Northern European tradition. Maybe you’ve grown to like it?

lefseI didn’t know the superlatives of lefse until a Norwegian neighbor made this soft flatbread made from potatoes and flour and cooked on a special griddle. She said, “spread with butter and sugar, it was my coming-home-from-school snack.”

Roberta loves it – just butter please. Need to find someone who makes it. :)


I would love to hear how you feel about the above traditions — or if you have other Scandinavian ones you cherish. May this season celebrating Christ’s becoming one of us, fixing it so we have forever life, be one of joy for you. If sorrow intrudes, reach out for support – get yourself to an alive church – let me know you could use prayer.
God Jul,
Roberta