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Christmas in Abadiânia by Melinda Holland, January 2003

Melinda Holland shares her experience of spending Christmas in Abadiânia.

Just a few short notes to tell others what Christmas time is like here. I have spent 3 Christmases here in Abadiânia and this one was especially fun. In Australia we celebrate Christmas in the summer so it is hot, in Brazil it is hot too. Only some of us were dreaming of cold and snow. It didn't really seem like Christmas at first because in Abadiânia you can escape the Silly Season or the mad Christmas rush and materialism that seems to happen at this time of year. However it really seemed like Christmas when at night we could hear loud Christmas music like Jingle Bells coming from a car. It just happened to be Carlos from Pousada Catarinense with a car full of presents for all the children in town. He drove around Abadiânia to a different street each night, played the Christmas music and gave presents to the children that came rushing out of the houses. It was fun to watch. They celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve which was a Tuesday Night, the night before the Casa week. Most pousadas had the normal dinner. A lot of people gathered at the Casa De Dom Inácio for prayers and to hear the singing. Normally the prayers start at 11.30pm to midnight so waiting around was too much for some people. For those who stayed Carolyn sang brilliantly and Biata played the violin to accompany her. The music was enjoyed by all and much appreciated. Prayers were said and everyone hugged everyone else and then we all went to Amazonas where Beth and Luis had a grande feast for the people who wanted to celebrate and not go to bed early.

The next week of Casa days were as normal. In my last two Christmases in Abadiânia, Dom Inácio incorporated but this was not to be this year. New Year's Eve was an even bigger celebration. Most pousadas had dinners. At Martin and Fernanda's was a grand feast, a dinner to raise money for the Soup Kitchen. There was a lot of food and dessert and the place was full of people celebrating. Balloons everyone and the music car too. Ultan and staff cooked a delicious dinner at the cafe for a few people. At Catarinense was a celebration too in grand style for the guests. I went around the other pousadas to celebrate with my friends after dinner. At midnight everyone gathered at the Casa De Dom Inácio. The Assembly Hall was crowded with people who had gathered in a circle and held hands as prayers were said. At the strike of midnight everyone hugged and kissed everyone else including their friends. There was another celebration at Amazonas afterwards with alcohol free champagne and lots of food and festivity. The weeks after Christmas and New Year were quiet at the Casa but now we are back to having a lot of buses and four-hour current sessions.

Happy New Year to Everyone