A 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!
Father 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!
“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!