Happy New Year!

Imagine carollers and trick or treaters and New Year’s revellers all rolled into a roiling mass of children roaming the neighborhood, singing in French “Bonne Année, Bonne Année Papa, tu es gentil, donnez moi de francs”, banging on pots and pans. Translated, the song says, “Happy New Year, Happy New Year Pops, you are nice, give me some money”. Their repertoire also includes a song that goes something like “you (and they often put in the name of the person they’re serenading) better repent or die”. They start at about 4 pm on New Year’s Eve, and stop at about 8 pm, maybe. THEN, they start up again at 6 am, to help you cheerfully (?) wake up to the new year. It’s customary to give them something, anything, anything to help them move along to the next victim. Our visiting friends from Sweden gave out bananas and then pieces of papaya. I had 3 bags of candy and bubble gum and a bag of beignets (sort of big donut holes) to hand out. I started with the first group by counting them and putting the appropriate number of treats in their communal bowl, which already had some manioc root in it from our neighbors. The next group was rowdy and crowded up so I couldn’t count or discern if there were kids from the first group in the second. They obviously decided lollipops with whistles for sticks and chewing gum were more attractive than manioc. Anyway, by the time the fourth group came, I resorted to tossing the treats way out away from my person, what with all the open, begging hands thrust open and upward and the shouting and the tussling over who could get closest into my face. Then with the following groups, I had to just step out on the porch, thank them for their lovely, cacophonous singing, and tell them I was sorry but I was just plain out of treats. I thought you might like to hear about this lovely local custom without really having to experience it! Happy New Year! I hope and pray this new year brings you blessings and makes you a blessing to others!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Report This Post

About danforth

As Covenant missionaries, we are working with all the tribal groups of the Central African Republic (CAR) but are trying to give special attention to the Fulani, a Musxlim, cattle herding, and semi-nomadic people group. We live on an experimental/training farm, near a mission station which has a hospital plus bible and nursing schools. We are establishing relationships with the local people groups through compassion ministries; Roy through agriculture and Aleta through public health and visitation, in order, ultimately, to share the good news of Jesus the Messiah with them. CAR is one of the least developed countries in the world and is currently in continual crisis (since the coup in March 2013), so reaching out in compassion is key to reaching their hearts. Due to the ongoing conflict and resultant ethnic cleansing in CAR, we are crossing the border to interact with our Fulani contacts.
This entry was posted in Ceremonies & church happenings. Bookmark the permalink.