As you have read in my previous post, we had a quiet Christmas morning doing some of our own family traditions, (including our coffee cake) and enjoying our gifts. And then began our new Ugandan Christmas traditions.
We had a Christmas service at the chapel (which is very common in Uganda) and then got the gifts from our house and went to the pavilion for the meal with plates and forks in hand (yep, it is byop--bring your own plates)! Our meal was a buffet of sorts which included matoke (plantains), rice, "irish" (potatoes), ground nut sauce, cabbage, chicken, and beef (from the slaughtered cow). It was actually very good but I did miss my ham. We had made a new tradition throughout the week before Christmas to make and eat some of our favorite dishes from back home, so not having the "traditional" Christmas meal wasn't so bad.
Next was my favorite part which I think is more a GSF tradition than a Ugandan tradition. We pulled out the birthday cake for Jesus AND party whistles, blowers and birthday hats! We sang Happy Birthday to Jesus and then the whistles began to blow, music began to play and many broke out in dance! It was a huge celebration of Jesus' birthday; the biggest I have ever been to. It didn't stop until the music was turned off so we could start the next part of the program which was the conclusion of the advent tree while some of us cleaned up and prepared for the gifts.
A church in CA. donated the money for us to buy gifts for the 36 children who stayed here for the holidays. We had fun buying them and giving them out and seeing the gratefulness on their faces.