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08.01.2007 Feature Article

Christmas holidays in retrospect

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It's quiet refreshing to have you back from our Christmas break. I imagine that you had a very exciting celebration. If you ask me, this past Christmas celebration was rather a retrospective time for most people. For starters, not many chickens were bought nor goats killed.

That was quiet evident when I went to Accra Central a few days before the break, some of the business people were quiet pleased but most complained about the average sales.

I remember vividly someone saying that “as for this Christmas diee, we no dey see top ooo.”

Despite complains from traders about low sales, the usual night market which is a flourishing period during celebrations, took place and it is quiet interesting to watch activities. Though 'Circle' is known for its daily night activities, it was particularly interesting seeing the make-shift stalls that sprang up during the holidays.

Starting from the GCB tower well into the 'trotro-station', one is sure to stumble upon interesting wares displayed on the pavement making walking difficult for pedestrians. Ranging from shoes to books, one could get a complete wardrobe on those pavements. I was particularly captivated by the range of shoes displayed and the bargaining skills that people have.

If you have lived in this country for long and have taken the chance to buy from 'the boys' you will realize that based on your skills, you can buy shoes priced at two hundred thousand cedis for hundred thousand cedis. As I said, this is based on your bargaining skills.

Looking at large number of pedestrians, you would wonder how you can stop to buy any of these wares but the sellers would make the decision for you by grabbing your hand and pulling you to where the goods are. They then select for you what they think will suit you. They are so convincing that they can sway you and more often than not they succeed, especially when you're constantly reminded that it's Christmas!

Madina market which usually closed at 6pm was alive with Christmas 'last minute shopping' and as 8pm, I noticed the burst of activities. I thought things will be more expensive on the eve of Christ's mass but I realized you could bargain for products for a third of its price and it will be sold to you.

Did you go to Kantamanto this break? It was just fun watching sellers dancing whiles advertising their wares and going about their normal activities. I understand that every Christmas, the market sellers contribute to engage 'spinners' who entertain both sellers and buyers. I went to Accra to witness this and it was quiet interesting.

31st night is a different experience all together; while some were certain they would be in church, others were torn between spending the time in church and a party, yet still there were those who knew that the new year will find them in a 'drinking spot or night club or at home'.

One night club owner said that he would play gospel music from 11.30pm to 12.30am so that his customers would have the opportunity to thank God for the New Year and afterwards, revert to his usual music selection. I found out that he was not the only person who did this.

If you were out on 31st night, you will realize that, night activity was more active than during the day; both young and old were out. In fact most people headed to church including the irregular church goers. Church activities became louder until about 1.00am.

Interestingly, the night clubs and the drinking spots became more active as more people trooped from church to celebrate the New Year with a little booze. Trust Ghanaians not to eave out the fun.

I don't know if you experienced this but the 200% increase in transportation fares on some routes, especially on the eve of the New Year was as a result of the large number of people hurrying to get to their destinations. It wasn't surprising that as at 1am there were queues for trotro. As for the taxis, it was a take it or leave it affair for any one who was lucky to get one.

Right after church, I called a friend and he told me that he was celebrating his new year at home with a simple prayer to God. I told him he was missing all the fun of what was happening on the streets.

I met a couple of friends who had to rush to parties after church and for me I was struggling to return phone calls and to wish people well for the year 2007. I used struggling because the largest network was jammed then and eventually I had to use my other lines to make calls while looking out for phone snatchers and at the same time keeping out of way of 'knockouts'. By the time I got home, I concluded that my New Year experience wasn't bad at all...

Just as I was about to enter my house, my attention was caught by a man who was otally drunk.

Let me ask you this question: how do drunk find their way home when they are walking alone?

Esenam Dumenu
Esenam Dumenu, © 2007

The author has 18 publications published on Modern Ghana.Column: EsenamDumenu

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."

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