|I have no personal Hanukkah pics. Why? Cuz I don't celebrate it.|
Christmas: Christmas is very much a feeling that starts before the actual holiday - with lights going up and holiday music playing and wearing scarves and special starbucks drinks and santas popping up. And those are more general holiday feelings than Christmas feelings. Here not much of that. Well there was a few holiday drinks in J.Co which is the popular donut/frozen yogurt/coffee chain here - equivalent to Starbucks I guess. Oh and there are actualy Starbucks here too. But otherwise there were a few Merry Christmas and Happy New Year banners but that's it.
AFS Jakarta decided to throw a Christmas party the friday before so we wouldn't completely miss out on the Christmas spirit. It included holiday msuic, candycanes, mini christmas trees and a gift exchange. We had a dinner at a long table with Western food. It was a bit of a barbeque with lots of meat so I ate salad and 'smashed' potatoes. And there was a gift exchange too. I ended up with a genuine australian lambskin wool duster. What a gift. It makes me laugh everytime I see it. I do love my wool duster.
Christmas Eve in America is nothing for me and my family. Here in Jakarta my host family went out to eat sushi.
My actual Christmas in America is getting up early to feed the homeless and then having a simple dinner at my Grandma's house with the rest of my family. We exchange some gifts but it's not one of those special build up open the gift one by one fancy dinners at one long table affairs.
And my for real Christmas is Indonesia was just hanging out at my house basically just an ordinary day. It just happened that way because one host sister was sick, the other was fasting and so asleep most of the day. My host mom was already in Bandung and my host father was in and out the house. There were a lot of Christmas movies on though and later we ate sop buah (fruit soup) which is one of my favorite treats in Indonesia.
Kwanzaa: So in America I celebrate Kwanzaa and not many people do - but it's still there and to me at least more important than Christmas. Since there are 7 days I'll explain what it means here (to me)and then do a new post about what actually happened each day - because a lot happened. So Kwanzaa was created by Dr. Maulana Karanga in the 60s. It takes place from December 26th to January 1st.For each of the 7 days of Kwanzaa there are different principles and then an official definition as to how it relates to the improving of ourselves as a family, community, nation, and race. Every day me and my family light a different candle in the kinara and talk about the principle of the day and how we'll try to keep it in mind for our future goals. Then on New Year's Eve - the 2nd to last day of Kwanzaa we gather with our entire family, and friends and celebrate (called karamu). We take a moment to thank all our ancestors who allowed us to be there and go over each principle again. Then each of the children do a little talent portion. I've recited tons of poems, did a couple of dances, and once played the violin. Then we eat. So that is my American celebration.
Here's a video of me at Kwanzaa one year just if you were interested.
It'll take a little longer to go over what actually happened on those 7 days here in Indonesia.
But it's coming soon :)