All too soon, another cycle of Gregorian calendar year has come to an end but before it did,a section of the Christian community celebrated December 25, according to their belief, as the day of the birth of Jesus. It is a holiday in Ghana.
To me, it’s a day away from the hustle and bustling of getting to work through the traffic. It’s a day of rest as we are on break. That notwithstanding,I decided to take a trip from my abode at New Aplaku to Accra and observe how Christians were marking the day.
I noticed that it was quite a normal day with not much fun. I expected the roads to be fluid because most businesses and corporate entities were on break and workers were at home.
However, that was not the case between the Mallam Junction and Mallam market. The traffic jammed because of commercial drivers’ activities and brisk trading there.
With the exception of the absence of newspapers from the newsstands by the roadsides because their publishers were on break, there were hawkers trading in bottled and sachet water, cold drinks, plantain chips and Xmas paraphernalia, perhaps, to gather some money for trips to the countryside for fun in the coming days-Boxing Day and January 1, which is celebrated a lot more.
On the street in my neighborhood, at least, I witnessed ‘mass execution’ in public. This time it is not the execution that had our military officers tied to sticks at the Teshie shooting range, and fired to death by the agents of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council, supposedly as part of what they claimed was ‘housing cleaning’ in the heat of the June 4th Revolution in 1979.
Sorry for evoking the bad memories of the past as the National Reconciliation Commission has put matters to rest! The public execution here involved mass killing of animals as part of the preparations for the festive feasts.
At least, I witnessed some hefty goats(my friend will say go-ats!!) come under the sharp knives of the ‘doctors’, who were in charge of the public operating theatres, dissecting them and eventually cutting the meat into pieces for easy use or sharing.
I observed the sharply-focused eyes of the ‘bereaved family’ watching with rapt attention to ensure that no partof the body could be missing;as every part of the carcass must be accountable for because it was about value for money, especially during festivities when the prices of the ‘sacrificial lambs’gone up.
I saw a crowded spot at the Kaneshie market. At first sight,I thought the crowd was behind a television set to watch either the AFCON 2021 in Cameroon or a premier league. On second thought, I remembered that could not be AFCON 2021as it had been scheduled to kick off on January 7, 2022.
As I approached the scene, I thought the crowd was one of customers of a bank waiting patiently for the Teller to be in the cage and beckon them to come forward for whatever transaction—to withdraw money, deposit or to make enquiries.
It was none of the above! People had gathered around the poultry cages trying to observe, perhaps,the noisiest cockerel or the one that was pecking enthusiastically at the feed thrown to them by the owners, which are signs of a healthy cockerel good for a meal at Xmas.
I had not planned buying any because I know I would surely eat some from my neighbours at home.
When I got back home after the short trip to town, it was approaching sunset. The seemingly quiet day had suddenly turned noisy. My neighbourhood had come alive! Music was blurring everywhere.
There was sporadic firing of fire crackers, popularly known in the country as knockout.The environment was getting much louder as people were massing up in pubs to have fun!
I spent the rest of the evening receiving gifts of cooked food and packages like bags of rice, beverages, biscuits, a bunch of plantains, you name the rest. I guessed it was a reciprocal of my courtesies to them during the festival of Eud-ul Fitr and Eid-ul Adha, reflecting a communal spirit of good neigbourliness.
The sounds get louder in the environment. Soon, it’s cloudy. It is storming now. Suddenly, the heavens have opened up and it’s a downpour- waaaaaa!!!The place becomes silent.The loud music stops. The heavens now ‘control’the environment for close to 30 minutes (6:00p.m-6:30p.m.) Indeed, showers of blessings!
The rains have stopped and the loud noise from the drinking spots and from some homes have taken over the ‘airwaves’ again. This continues late into the night. So I ask one question, is Christmas about noise making?
By Salifu Abdul-Rahamank 00,-