Jean-Claude Ma­ni­ra­ki­za

Pin­court Ori­gi­nal­ly from Burundi, Afri­ca

L'Etoile - - IN OTHER WORDS -

In Burundi, more than 70 percent of the po­pu­la­tion is Ro­man Ca­tho­lic and chil­dren are bap­ti­zed on Ch­rist­mas so this makes it one of the most ce­le­bra­ted ho­li­days. The eve of Ch­rist­mas, each fa­mi­ly cleans the house and pro­per­ty be­gin­ning ve­ry ear­ly in the morning (mo­thers and daugh­ters usual­ly do this not fa­thers and sons.) They al­so pre­pare new clothes that fa­mi­ly mem­bers will wear on Ch­rist­mas. Nor­mal­ly, eve­ry fa­mi­ly ma­nages to get new clothes for Ch­rist­mas. Get­ting new clothes for eve­ry­bo­dy is one of the fa­ther’s res­pon­si­bi­li­ties. Fa­mi­lies that are too poor to buy new clothes clean the ones they have so they look neat and do not feel asha­med to join the others.

The fa­mi­ly al­so pre­pares food on Ch­rist­mas Eve. As Ch­rist­mas is a spe­cial oc­ca­sion each fa­mi­ly will try ve­ry hard to have meat on the Ch­rist­mas me­nu since it is not so­me­thing people eat on a re­gu­lar ba­sis. Get­ting meat is al­so the fa­ther’s res­pon­si­bi­li­ty.

Weal­thy fa­mi­lies that own cows, goats or sheep will kill an ani­mal and the fa­ther and his sons pre­pare the meat. But since ve­ry few fa­mi­lies can af­ford to kill a cow, ma­ny will put mo­ney to­ge­ther and share the cost of a cow or other ani­mal. Most will be able to at least get poul­try so they have some kind of meat on Ch­rist­mas and rice since it is consi­de­red a spe­cial food, as well. On Ch­rist­mas Day eve­ryone wakes ear­ly, puts on their new clothes and goes to church. They sing tra­di­tio­nal me­lo­dies in the lo­cal lan­guage (Ki­run­di.) Af­ter people greet friends and re­la­tives out­side the church and though they don’t say it, eve­ryone likes to be no­ti­ced in their new clothes.

People then go home to ga­ther around a table and the food is ser­ved. It is ve­ry com­mon that fa­mi­lies who live to­ge­ther or not far from each other en­joy the Ch­rist­mas ce­le­bra­tion to­ge­ther.

Fa­mi­lies al­so wel­come those who may not have any­thing for the ce­le­bra­tion. People share what they have on Ch­rist­mas and feel that no­bo­dy should be alone, sad or hun­gry on a day like that.

PHOTO KRIS­TI­NA ED­SON

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