On behalf of all of the children and staff at Heritage Children’s Centre, Pastor Moses Katende would like to wish all of our supporters a very Merry Christmas!
Have you ever wondered what Christmas is like for the children we support in Uganda? Take a look at our Q & A with Pastor Moses, who tells us about how Ugandans celebrate Christmas and the special Christmas traditions at Heritage Children’s Centre.
Q: How do people usually celebrate Christmas in Uganda?
A: Before the 25th December every year in Uganda, you can see and listen to how people prepare themselves for this special day. Christmas is a special day to everyone in Uganda that nobody can forget or even try to miss. That is to say mature people, youth, children, rich and poor, those living on the streets, both believers and non believers.
Some people in Uganda travel to different parts of the country, between rural and urban areas, to celebrate Christmas with their families. Different homes clear their compounds, decorate their houses with either real or artificial Christmas trees and balloons so as to make it more beautiful and colourful.
During the Christmas season, the number of markets will increase throughout different areas of Uganda. This is because some people keep their money to buy clothes for Christmas so as to appear differently smart on that day.
On Christmas morning many people prepare for church and that's when the churches get to be full with many people. And by Christmas evening some people go to church-organised functions (Christmas Carols) and others go to other festivals, beaches or recreation centres.
Q: What types of food are traditionally eaten at Christmas time in Uganda?
A: Different homes begin to save some money, store or keep plenty of traditional food for example bananas (matooke), sweet potatoes (lumonde), yams, cassava, beans, soya peas, cowpeas, Irish potatoes, ground nuts, vegetables and many others either in their granaries or gardens.
Firewood, charcoal for cooking, domestic birds like hens, ducks, turkeys and domestic animals such as goats, cows, pigs, sheep and rabbits are also saved for Christmas day. This allows people to fully enjoy the meal on the day, along with different types of drinks.
Q: Do you have any Christmas traditions at Heritage Children’s Centre?
A: At Heritage Children's Centre we light a very big tree. We also organise transport to take the children to church and to have lunch. When we are back from church, we organise some Christmas activities like games, Christmas card reading for the children, Father Christmas entertainment, meat roasting and sharing of the good news. We also do gift sharing mostly on Boxing Day. Each year we aim to serve the children good food and sodas on Christmas, and to buy some new shoes and clothes for the children.
Q: How do you say “Merry Christmas” in Uganda?
A: In Uganda we say Merry Christmas in different languages but in Luganda (the major language of Uganda) we say, "Ssekukulu Ennugi" Or "Xmas ey'essanyu".