A Happy (Humid and Wet) Christmas

2023-12-25T14:25:15

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I woke up to the sound of rain.


Christmas is quintessentially white with snow. That is something we have grown up with, the image of Christmas being white with snow. Even today in South Africa, with some of the hottest weather we are experiencing in many years, some of the shops which are owned by overseas companies are selling sweaters with snow-themed Christmas ideals. It is funny to me because we have a summer Christmas in South Africa, with some of the most intense heat in many years. Those who buy these sweaters are living the European dream because the heat melts away the myth they are living.

In any case, this morning I woke up to the sound of rain hitting my roof. https://peakd.com/life/@fermentedphil/it-is-that-time-of-year-again-moving-inside-the-uncanny And this afternoon, I experienced my first Christmas with my girlfriend's family. The atmosphere was lovely, the food was good, and we had fun with presents in which we played a family game where presents were given at random (in fact, with the throw of a die), and at the end, we exchanged so many gifts as well. This tradition was something I was not used to, they called it "kadooitjie" or "kadootjes" which basically means small gifts.

The game works in such a manner that all the families buy something small and inconsequential. They individually wrap these gifts, and they place everything in the middle of the table. There is the "grand master" or the person in charge who throws the die. Whatever the die lands on will become the number everyone needs to try and throw. If the person in charge throws "5", everyone else needs to throw a 5. If I throw a five, the person in charge will give me a gift, if person B also throws a 5, they will be given a gift. In the end, when all of the gifts have been given to everyone who threw the number the person in charge threw, we open the gifts. But this is only the first round. These gifts are not yet yours.

In the second round, we play the game again. Now, if you throw the correct amount with the die, you can take any gift from anyone around the table. If I throw the correct number, I can look around the table and "steal" whatever gift I want. And so the others can also do this to me, they can take whatever they want from me.

As fun as this game sounds, it is also fear-inducing. I had a chocolate that I really wanted, but every time someone threw the right number, they took my chocolate! But in the end, it was real fun and games. We all enjoyed it and we had a lovely time.

Experiencing a different Christmas tradition for the first time really opened my eyes to the wonderful multiplicity of life. Every family has their own tradition, their own way of celebrating a tradition. And not every family celebrates these traditions. I am only thinking of people who do not celebrate Christmas. This adds to the complexity of life. And it helps to colour in life with more than one shade. We are so used to that everyone celebrates Christmas that we often forget that (i) different families celebrate Christmas differently, and (ii) that some people do not even celebrate Christmas. And this is the beauty of difference.


If you do celebrate Christmas, I hope that you thoroughly enjoyed it with friends and family, and that you had a wonderful time.

This time of year is after all about slowing down, drinking a drink, and enjoying good food - that is, if you are into such things.

From my side, the fermented side, I really hope that you have a splendid festive season.

All of the writings are my own. The photograph is also my own, taken with my Nikon D300.

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