Mother’s Day Like You Have Never Seen It

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On Sunday, I was sitting in the lounge room taking a few minutes to read instead of work. I heard the familiar sound of drums and indigenous music coming from the little church on the hill above our house. I grabbed my camera and walked up to see what was going on. I had completely forgotten that it was Mother’s Day. Neither Eunie nor I pay any attention to Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, so I wasn’t prepared for the wild celebration which I encountered as I approached the church.

By the way, the sunrise was uninspiring.Nothing like yesterday’s.

When I arrived, our community mothers were dancing up a storm. The lady on the left with the ginger hair is Sisilia, our next-door neighbour:We are very blessed to live in a place where we are surrounded by good neighbours. There are many places here where it is dangerous to live. For over twenty years we have felt very secure and welcome in the Lutheran Shipping compound. All of the people here work for the same company, so it is very much like an extended family. Neighbours work together, party together, and mourn together and help each other in times of trouble.

A very common feature of Melanesian culture is the telling of stories and instructional information by the use of impromptu theatre. If you want to get a point across, you make a little play of it and perform it. Here we are seeing how hard the mother works:It may seem odd to see someone sweeping the ground, but there is no simpler way to get rid of the leaves and pipia (rubbish) which accumulates.

While the mother works, the children play all day:It amazes me how quickly a little tableaux can be worked out. I have seen small groups discussing an idea and working up a performance in only a few minutes.

Here we see mom giving food to her children:All the while the actors are playing their roles, a narrator is telling the story.

After a play is over, the traditional dancing begins:The dancing is very stylised; every movement and gesture has a meaning.

It sometimes gets a little wild and unconstrained:That was Mother’s Day at our house.

Not a day passes that I don’t enjoy some new and interesting experience here in Paradise. I’m the luckiest guy on the planet.

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2 Responses to “Mother’s Day Like You Have Never Seen It”

  1. Walt Says:

    Nice article, Jan! You’re right … this is nothing like any Mother’s Day I’ve seen. I’m used to it being a fairly low-key thing involving the immediate family only. It’s kind of nice to see this community approach to celebrating … after all, everybody has or had a mother!

  2. MadDog Says:

    Thanks, Walt. That’s just the kind of response which I was hoping for from this post.