On my recent visit to Amanfe, in the Brong Ahafo region I talked to people there about how they celebrate Christmas.
Planning for the holidays
Madam Mary Yeboah a Kuapa member in the community told me how preparations for Christmas start way back in October when the new cocoa season is declared open by the government. According to her, as soon they receive money from the sale of their cocoa, deductions are made as to how much they would re-invest into their farming and children’s education, the rest is used in purchasing items that would be needed to celebrate the yuletide. Asked to name specifically some items they buy in advance for Christmas, Georgina Kumi Afari mentioned sardines, eggs, chickens, biscuits, oil, rice, yams, cloths and materials.
Nana Asamoah Yeboah, Kuapa member and leader of the community spoke to me about the their Christmas season, which starts on the night of December 24th when they plant a ‘Christmas’ tree, build a hut around it out of palm leaves, and decorate the hut with flowers and balloons.
Early morning of 25th December is dedicated to remembering relatives, friends and other members of the community who have passed on to the next world. This they do by pouring a libation, afterwards the elders make toasts in schnapps and other drinks before they attend church services. The children are ushered into the festive mood when the family returns from church. The parents and other relatives give them treats of balloons, minerals, biscuits and toffees to enjoy.
The merry making continues the following day, 26th December - a day dedicated to cooking ‘extra-ordinary’ foods fit for the occasion. Some of these dishes are sent to the homes of loved ones and vice-versa. Rice and fufu,with goat or chicken meat are the common foods enjoyed by the community during the Christmas festivities.
The 26th December is also the day when the children put on their best clothes to visit relations and family friends in other villages. At times, the children are accompanied by the parents during these visits as they too use the opportunity to exchange fraternal season’s greetings.
In a year that they don’t produce much, the farmers cut short their celebrations and return to the farms on the 27th which is supposed to be a holiday, but only in a year that they get maximum returns; the day is observed as a rest day by the whole community.
New Year’s resolutions.
The Amanfe community, like most communities in Ghana also use New Year’s Day to adopt resolutions after church service. Among some of their New Year resolutions are; measures for improving their farms, improvements for children's education, new businesses and projects they intend doing in addition to their farms. On a community level, Amanfe has been able to build its own school for their children’s education and a clinic which still needs staff at the moment. Their aim for the coming year is to build teachers’ quarters and also to acquire good clean drinking water.