Friday, December 24, 2010
I’m dreaming of a white Christmas… but I’m more likely to get sun.
“You have Christmas in the heat? How do you do that?” Er, well, actually, we do it in much the same way as you guys in the far north.
As the SARocks blog says, “…we were a British colony for over a century… You don’t think there might be a few, erm, familiar features? Despite the dramatic difference in temperatures, we still have European-style Christmas decorations everywhere – plastic mistletoe, fake snow on shop windows, great big evergreen Christmas trees, Boney-M singing “Mary’s Boy Child” booming out from every PA system… And for many of my school friends, the traditional Christmas lunch was a hot meal of turkey and trimmings. Having said that, large portions of the country are not of British stock and therefore do not feel bound to sweat their way through a turkey dinner while the swimming pool beckons outside"
And that pretty much sums it up.
Ironically, I remember few very hot Christmases because here, for some odd reason, it inevitably rains in Cape Town on Christmas day! And for that I’m grateful, because with a family of thoroughly mixed origin from even colder climes than the UK – the full “real deal” was always how we always did Christmas. Moreover, combining various traditions we really made a meal of it and celebrated Christmas on both Christmas Eve and Christmas day.
I still do the same; with a meat fondue and present opening on Christmas Eve and more present opening and a traditional lunch on Christmas day. I've tried to adapt it over the years to incorporate Lovely Husband’s English and Scottish heritage - though it’s a tough act to perfect. In an ideal world I'd do a gammon and a goose but Lovely Husband won't hear of eating a goose (despite the two that have taken to swimming and shagging in the pool). He won't eat duck either which would be the other option, and my mother won't eat gammon... It all makes traditional Christmases a bit tricky.
So, this year, I am catering to suit myself. After popping round to see my mother on Christmas Eve, we will come home to a presents and a fondue next to the Christmas tree - there may even be schmaltzy Christmas music in the background – you know, Bing crooning “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas…” On Christmas day, my mother will be having Christmas elsewhere as she's done for the past 16 years (and will have roast lamb and roast chicken) while I will make a traditional glazed gammon and a duck stuffed with apples. There may be more schmaltzy music and then there will be a movie – this year, Robert Zemeckis’ The Christmas Carol.
And then, on Boxing Day (known here in more recent years as the Day of Goodwill) there will be fasting. Actually, there won’t, there’ll snacking on leftovers whilst slobbing out next to the pool.
I do admit that having celebrated several Christmases in the snow, doing it in the heat is a bit odd but still, I believe it's called making the most of multiple heritages.
Wherever you are and however you do – or don’t – celebrate the holiday season, may you have a happy, peaceful, joyous and wonderful time!
From Africa to the rest of the world... MERRY CHRISTMAS!
Afishapa (Akan -Ghana)
Merry Kisimusi (Zimbabwe)
Geseënde Kersfees (Afrikaans - South Africa)
Sinifisela Ukhisimusi Omuhle (Zulu - South Africa)
Sinifisela Khisimusi Lomuhle (Swazi - Swaziland)
Matswalo a Morena a Mabotse (Sotho - Lesotho)
Kuwa na Krismasi njema (Swahili - Tanzania)
Melkam Yelidet Beaal (Amharic - Ethiopia)
Colo sana wintom tiebeen (Egyptian)
E ku odun, e hu iye' dun! (Yoruba -Nigeria)