Wishing you a Season filled with Wonders – Christmas Thoughts from Uganda
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from the Pearl of Africa, where the Season of Natural Wonders never ends
Kabiza Wilderness Safaris wishes our Clients and Friends a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from Uganda in the Heart of Africa. Enjoy our Christmas Thoughts from Pearl of Africa, where the Season of Natural Wonder never ends but continues each Day of the year.
Many of you have asked us, “what is Christmas like in Africa – in Uganda?” One thing is for sure. It is celebrated differently. The significant difference is that the Emphasis in Uganda is not so much on Presents but on the Presence of Being with Family and Friends.
A time when most of those living in cities such as Kampala take the road home to their Village and their Family and celebrate Christmas as they always have. Your success in Big City is measured by what you bring back to the Village during the Festive Season. Practical things such as flour, oil, sugar, tea, bread, margarine, and some cookies are necessary. Anything else is a bonus.
For us at Kabiza Wilderness Safaris – Christmas and New Year’s is one of the busiest times of the year. Unlike most Ugandans, we only have time for Christmas Thoughts. Still, no celebrations except for seeing our Clients enjoy themselves on a Holiday Safari in Uganda. Well Wishes since all of us are creating a meaningful Season for our Clients and Visitors.
Christmas Thoughts from the Pearl of Africa for you:
For most Ugandans, life is a struggle for daily survival, providing for a family, school fees, medical care costs, food, and shelter. The Focus of Christmas Thoughts in Uganda of the Christian Faith (most are) is focused on Family, friends, and the Reason for the Season – the Birth of Christ, which to most Ugandans means that they are not alone in their struggles in life, but Emmanuel – God is with them.
In Ugandan society, spirituality is an essential part of life, and it is seen in the ways Ugandans live and celebrate the Season, whether rich or poor. There are few Agnostics or Atheists found in Uganda. Most Ugandans are Christian, with 12% being Muslims. Christians invite their Muslim Neighbors and Relative as Muslims invite Christians to their Feasts.
Ugandans are people rooted in their faith, evidenced in various degrees in their daily lives. This time of the year, the reason for the Season is celebrated. Many, especially Catholics and those of the Church of Uganda, will attend Church on Christmas Day or Christmas Eve or Day.
Christmas for well-to-do Ugandans may include traveling with the Family to a lodge in one of the National Parks. In contrast, others will travel upcountry to be in their Village with Family and Friends, but their numbers are few compared to the 45 Million that make up Uganda.
In Uganda, as in much of the rest of Africa, there is not so much giving of presents. Most people do not have the financial resources to buy gifts such as toys. Out in the countryside, there are not many stores that have any kinds of toys for sale, and even if they did, they would not sell too well since people are into having daily food. Still, on Christmas, just as worldwide, there is this celebratory spirit for Family and friends to come together to feast and rejoice in the fact that they have each other.
The little shops and the kiosks will put up garlands and lights if they have electricity. Artists will make some extra money painting a nativity scene where some store windows and other festive things have to do with the celebration. I have seen some painted on snowflakes while the temperature was well into the 90s. The main thing is that it looks nice, and the sounds of Christmas music coming out of the shops make excellent change es.
At the local Hotels, Choirs will come in and sing for guests and audiences, churches will be getting ready for Christmas eve events, and everyone will get ready for the Christmas party. Children and parents will get a new set of clothes and sometimes shoes, most often from the secondhand market, which is imported clothing worn first by someone in the west. Women will put on some of their traditional dresses. In East Africa, there has been a resurgence of African style sweeping the land, which I think is excellent, and the bright colors are pleasant to behold.
The closer you get to Christmas, the higher the public transport prices. Chicken, goat, beef, eggs, sugar, oil, vegetables, beer, and local Gin will increase considerably. Lowering costs is almost unheard of, with a few exceptions, such as the Walmart-owned Game Store.
Food is an integral part of the Christmas Celebration in Uganda, and chicken Luwombo is a favorite in Uganda’s Central Region. Well, to do, I might even buy a turkey at a fancy shop or store such as the new South African Shoprite superstore in Kampala. Still, it is Chicken, beef, goat, fish, matooke (green bananas – steamed), Irish potatoes, posho, groundnut sauce, cassava, yams, and lots of other things.
People without means will pull resources together and their neighbors and friends and slaughter a goat, goat, or a cow, but there is usually a celebration for all. The children are excited; the adults look forward to a day of no work and just relaxing with friends and lots of food.
Ugandans, like others, celebrate the Christmas season with a family get-together and with friends, the ways may be different, but the spirit is the same. One big difference is that Christmas is not just with Family, attending church, but a time for concerts with famous, contemporary artists, dancing and drinking beer and Waragi.
RECIPE: Christmas Chicken LUWOMBO FROM UGANDA
A favorite Christmas dish in Uganda is ‘luwombo,’ which is Chicken (or other meat) in concise (French Method of roughly chopping soft foods often applied to vegetables, such as tomatoes) steamed in banana leaves. Feasting and merry-making are incomplete without the famed ‘luwombo.’
‘Matooke’ (green bananas) are a staple crop cooked and eaten like potatoes and made into fermented wine, which is drunk with the ‘luwombo.’ The Chicken is cooked and served in the banana leaf envelopes. I am sure your greengrocer has banana leaves…hmmm…
The most delicious and favored “luwombo” sauces are pork, Chicken, meat, mushroom in a nut sauce, and smoked fish in nut sauce.
The ‘luwombo’ sauce is never fried, and as a result, it has a fantastic rare taste. After hours of prolonged cooking in an airtight container made of a wilted banana leaf, this is arrived at.
The’ matooke’ is harvested two days before as an accompanying dish. They are peeled and wrapped in several banana leaves, then placed in a saucepan and simmered over a medium fire for up to six hours. The golden-colored ‘matooke’ is mashed and served with the ‘luwombo’ sauce.
To make ‘luwombo,’ cut the Chicken into four pieces and grill them carefully until they’re a yellowish-brown hue. Smoked meat can be cut into serving portions.
Make the Luwombo dish by mixing tomatoes and chopped onions, then stewing them over low heat in a pot for about fifteen minutes. Add tomato paste and a little water to get a rich, tomato-based gravy, and you could add a chicken-flavored cube or spices.
Preparing Chicken Luwombo for Christmas
- Pick one fresh un-slit banana leaf of medium size.
- Place leaf over fire and wilt but do not burn.
- Fold the leaf in half and bring the edges together.
- Place various ingredients in a Banana Leaf envelope.
- Tie the top of the leaf with banana fiber to make it airtight.
- Lay banana stalks in the saucepan and add water.
- Place in pan and insulate with banana leaves. Ensure that envelopes do not sit on the saucepan floor and are not immersed in water – you could place a few cut banana stems at the bottom.
- Steam for three hours, and have a lovely meal.
From Kabiza Wilderness Safaris from the Pearl of Africa – Uganda, Christmas Thoughts from Uganda. We hope to see you this year and introduce you to its Primates, Wildlife, Stunning Scenery, and its People and their Culture…Merry Christmas from us all.