Welcome to Photo Friday! Each Friday, we share photo collections of our favourite shots from our sponsor sites around the world.
We are blessed to work with diverse communities in countries all around the world. At Christmastime, when families at our sites celebrate the birth of Jesus, they have the opportunity to showcase many wonderful traditions unique to their culture.
This week, we’re sharing our top 5 “Christmas traditions” from our sponsor sites. We hope you enjoy this festive and heartwarming collection!
#5: Dancing shoes in Bolivia
In Bolivia, Christmas celebrations at our sites include games, contests, music, and dancing! Family circles take special care in rehearsing and performing different traditional dances for their peers, and a special greeting dance called “Chuntunquis” to honour the baby Jesus. One year, a group of mothers prepared beautiful dance costumes with recycled materials including rice and sugar bags, and old CDs!
#4: Christmas cake in Nairobi
For our Nairobi site in Kenya, Christmas is a time of sharing the love, peace and joy of Christ. Last Christmas, families shared a meal and gifts with children who are orphaned or otherwise unable to be with their loved ones. Like children all over the world, they couldn’t wait for the cake! The “crowning moment was sharing a Christmas cake,” writes the site. Christmas cake is an increasingly popular tradition for Kenyan families. They can be made just like western style cakes, or include local fruits or spices like cardamom!
#3: Turning heads in Champerico
One year, our Luis Amigo site in Guatemala took an entire week to celebrate Christmas! Each family was invited to one day’s celebration, grouped by ages of their sponsored children. The day began in the church for prayer, and then everyone proceeded outside singing Christmas carols, walking alongside the children who had become Mary and Joseph for the day.
As per tradition, Mary and Joseph asked for “posada”, a place to stay, to people they met as they walked. This was an unusual site in this little town! Posada celebrations are usually done at night, so seeing this in the daylight was intriguing. Many came out to watch or joyfully join!
#2: St. Nikolas’s little helpers
At our Ternopil site in Ukraine, sponsored children spent time around Christmas learning how to create handmade fruit wreaths and crafted Christmas trees. Olha, a Chalice staff member, called this craft workshop “the Factory of St. Nikolas.” Upon completing their creations, the children went to their village to distribute their gifts to the elderly. In this way, they learned to perform acts of kindness, while keeping the popular Ukrainian story of St. Nikolas alive!
#1: Away in a manger
In the Philippines, nativity sets are called “belen” and they are everywhere! Homes, businesses, and public places have a representation of the Holy Family in the manger, especially at Christmastime. As an act of gratitude to God, children and families from our site became united in thanking the Lord through prayer particularly by attending the Holy Masses and by doing charitable works like sharing blessings with the less fortunate.
This year, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, families at our sponsor sites will be unable to meet and gather for Christmas celebrations in large groups. Instead, your loving contributions to the Christmas fund will be distributed to each family to enable them to celebrate Christmas safely in the comfort of their own homes.