It’s fascinating to hear how Christmas is celebrated in Uganda, and how Milly and family celebrated it with some of her Kingsway students. Many of them have relatives to go home to for the holiday break, but some of the orphans do not. These come home to Milly’s house in Kampala and celebrate Christmas with her family. (She calls all of the children at Kingsway her “sons” and “daughters” and they call her “Mama Milly.”)
Gifts before Christmas
A new dress is important because a poor person has one or two clothes he/she uses all the time. By the time of the next Christmas, they are too dirty and old. So such people will need new clothes!
Sometime a week or two beforehand people start cleaning their houses. This is because they are celebrating Jesus’ arrival on Christmas day, and how can Jesus come to visit a dirty house? They also put up a Christmas tree.
We have Christmas tree too, but our Christmas lights all died! Last Christmas we only put cards on our tree with candies (= candy canes from the US) and some few Christmas decorations.
Feasting on Christmas Day
On Christmas Day, everything begins with putting on your best and going to church. After church is done, we come home to feast and play games. This is usually the only day many people eat meat all year long besides Easter Sunday.
The typical midday celebration meal contains: chicken, pork, some meat, assorted vegetables, mixed vegetable sauce, soup, gravy, peanut sauce, rice, matoke, potatoes, macaroni, pumpkin, pineapples, watermelon, and sodas.
Lots of Fun, Singing and a Quiz!
The Christmas Cake
After that comes the Christmas cake! A cake is something that must be bought at a bakery because we don’t have an oven (a “cooker”) for baking otherwise. Milly doesn’t usually spend money on prepared food, so I (Lois) asked her if this has been a tradition for very long.
Here is Milly trying to cut the cake, but her three-year-old granddaughter Hosanna isn’t letting her, or letting her mother (Faith Freida) take a picture. Kids will be kids!
Merry Christmas from Uganda!