Christmas Carols

CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS ON MISIMA

Late on Christmas Eve, villagers light their kerosene lanterns and gather for a long night of caroling. Singing selections from a hymn book, the carolers enjoy a night of leisure going from bush house to bush house.

On Misima Island, there are no Christmas trees, stockings, or Santa Claus. Singing is the central Christmas custom. When carolers approach a home, the occupants listen. Afterward, they join the parade of carolers. By rotating in and out of the group, everyone has the opportunity to both sing and receive the joyful serenade.

By Christmas morning, the sun has risen and the singing has already reached its height. Villagers adorn the carolers with baby powder, which smells good and feels cool in the tropical heat. They give pineapples and long sticks of sugar cane from their gardens. When they have it, villagers also like to share their tobacco, betel nut, and hard candy.

Before the carolers disperse to their homes, someone from the local church might read a scripture or offer a prayer. At home, carolers might enjoy a hot cup of tea or coffee and visit with their neighbors. But many of them will retire for a morning nap, until dinner that afternoon.

As always, thank you for your support and patronage. We wouldn't be able to make this documentary film without your kindness. —Bryan Pitcher