Written by CorpsAfrica/Senegal Volunteer Mr. Adnane Sounni
The celebration days are great events that any person living in a new culture should be curious to discover. I may say that there are some similarities in the way humanity expresses its happiest moments as well as its bad experiences, but each community differs in the details and that’s what is important.
For example, we (almost) celebrate in Senegal in the same way we do in Morocco. We invite people, prepare food, dance around music, and so on. However, there is a difference because neither the Senegal food nor the music and the dance are like the Moroccan ones.
The last week we had a special ceremony in our village. Our family size is augmented because the son of the village chief had a new baby girl named Aminatu. After 40 days of her birth it was the time to celebrate the arrival of the new baby.
During that day the villagers got up early to prepare for this day, and it’s usually the young men and women that take care of everything. They start by slaughtering a calf and a goat. The calf had been bought one week before that day, and to slaughter it we needed five powerful men. The children were very motivated to assist that and they brought the big bowl to convey the meat.
To prepare the meals which are the rice and the meat (what we called “ceebu yepp”) we need to prepare a traditional fireplace with stone and using the firewood. They brought the firewood from around the village fields. The pots we used in the cooking were huge. The first thing was to wash them before covering them from outside with mud so not to be affected by the fire.
Because we had a huge number of the guests, so we needed the same amount of rice. This latter needed to be cleaned from impurities, so this is another mission that had to be done in time.
While the young men prepare the meals, the girls of the village are the one that serve the food to the guests. The girls wore uniform green T-shirts with the word “welcome” written in the back especially for like this moments.
After the meals, the music starts in the village. The village music group that played the traditional music originated from Mali and are called the “Djimbee.” They made everyone shake their body, especially the women and the children. The dancers moved in a circular way shaping a circle and each time one person gets inside, but it shouldn’t be children, which is why sometimes a grown girl is the one who organizes so to prevent the kids from entering inside and make sure they dance outside. This music really ignites enthusiasm; and as long as the people never get enough of music, more is always wanted and played. One person who came from the city brought speaker systems and amplifiers to add more ambiance.
Well, in this blog I tried to give you an overview on how we celebrate the newborn in my site Keur Simbara.
Meet you in another blog and story. Thank you for reading!