Christmas Greetings

Virgilio at the Skills Centre tells us a bit about Christmas in Lubwe: 
Christmas is the biggest annual event for the people of Lubwe. Most people start preparing for Christmas as early as late November, and their main activity is trying to raise enough Kwacha if they can, through piece work or any other way they can. The saved money is meant for buying of food and clothes to those who cannot otherwise afford to do so.
A week before Christmas Eve, various types of local beverages are brewed in the home in large quantities. On the evening of Christmas Eve, Catholics go for evening Mass at St. Josephs which starts at 10.30 PM and lasts until midnight.
Quite a good number of other Christians from different denominations also attend this Mass, at the St Joseph’s Catholic Church by the side of Lake Chifanuli. Exactly one second from midnight the church bell tolls, guns are sounded in the surrounding villages. Shouts of ‘Christmas’ and fireworks herald the start of celebrations, and the people who had slept instead, wake up to join those coming from Church in celebrations.
There is no Santa Christmas to give gifts to children, but the tradition is that, whoever brings a flower or a small branch of leaves at the door stapes of one 's house in the early hours  of Christmas day, that is between 05.00 hrs AM to 06.00hrs AM has to be given a gift. It can be anything as long as it is a gift given in good spirit and faith. Homes are usually painted with white and black clay as part of decorating houses for festival.

On the morning of Christmas Day, everyone will put on their best clothes, even the aged will go into their clothes archives and retrieve their best ‘suits’ of the 1960's to appear at their very best. Generally on this day, people go to Mass in the morning, except for those who may have taken too much of the home made beer. After the Church service, people eat and drink the best food they can afford. There is a lot of goodwill from everyone. Food and beer is eaten and drunk freely. Even the poorest of homes will have saved enough to afford a small amount of meat or chicken to go with the most cherished Nshima (a dough like mash made from cassava root or Mealie meal) for lunch and dinner.


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