Memory of Christmas Eve

My village celebrates the best Christmas Eve ever. It is the day that everyone in the village come together to celebrate in the open place – primary school field.

December 24th is the day youths who work and lived in cities and towns across the country are in the village for the holidays.

Over the years, we have saved enough money to acquire a generator to use for the night and when not in use, it is rented out to the neighbouring villages.

A month prior each household is levied to contribute towards the evening party – Club Party. Well off  families contribute above what was asked of them and some even donate drinks and other useful items for the night.

Mama Ige is an elderly woman in her 60s when she returned to the village, she had horrible wound to her shin, I don’t know more to the story than that the sore has been there for a long time and is incurable (illness is incurable in Nigeria when no money to take to hospital). The wound smells really bad so Mama Ige is pretty much isolated most of the time.

On December 24th, she belonged so is everyone.

I remember her once contributing fire woods to help with the cooking and later on showed up in the field for a couple of hours – Everyone celebrate the gift of life

The evening is all about eating, drinking (mostly soft drinks) dancing and singing. One of the guys a bit older than me who was a Radionic/DJ (Electrician) would bring all his equipment for the night, and take the lead – we were all proud of Samuel, as he always introduces new town’s slangs and new releases at the party.

The night started at 8pm with parents sat in front row and a group doing traditional dancing in the front to entertain followed by a selected elder to speak on behalf of everyone to thank the lord that we all together again by grace.

From 9pm most elders are back in their homes leaving the youths to dance the night away. Music is all secular pop songs.

My father and a few others don’t go to sleep, they’d hung around in front of their houses to safe guard us. My parents house is directly opposite the field where the party is taking place so my old man sees it all.

For about a week, my village is filled up, lots of visiting and greetings and news from across the country – very lively atmosphere.

By December 30th, it all started to quiet down, folks leaving for town preparing for New Year parties in town – different towns mostly less than ten miles away. I have stayed back with my dad a few times – my village is mostly empty around this time, about one ninth inhabitants gone to celebrate new year but the good news is that my father tends to have big ‘catch’ of bush meat this time – not bad.

Sometimes I wished everyone stayed back but I can’t really blame people for wanting a bit of luxury of electricity and paved roads, not when I am now far away myself.