The alarm clock rings. I open my eyes. It’s dark. The sun is still far behind the cliffs. I can hear music in the distance. Time to get up, time to go. The watch shows 5:30. So I’m going and the music shows me the way. I see a few people in the church bar. There is no end to smiles and hugs. We set up tables and chairs, decorate windows, prepare food. The mass, which began at six o’clock, will end soon and people will leave the church. People are joyful, smiling, ready to talk and have fun. We will serve drinks and food. The church bells ring.
“Senhora / Senhor, quer cacau?”, “Quer cacau com leite o sem leite?” I ask with a smile. The orchestra plays. People dance, sing, hug each other, talk. I look and I can’t believe that people can enjoy Christmas so much, they can dance, sing, cuddle together, talk… At seven in the morning … The sun is slowly rising. The crowd on the street is disappearing, the music is going down and we are cleaning up. We need only a bowl of canja, a cup of garoto, twenty hugs, one hundred smiles and we can go back to everyday activities. The sun is already high.
On Christmas Eve, however, I am in Poland with my boyfriend, parents, younger brother, older brother, his wife and his two daughters. We share a wafer and start dinner party. I eat my favourite „pierogi” with cabbage and mushrooms, I drink „barszcz”. Carols are heard in the background. We’re talking. We need only gifts from Santa Claus and we can go to mass at midnight. I sing loudly and joyfully. After the mass, however, people do not dance, do not sing … A few people hug each other, talk. However, everyone quickly goes to the cars, they return home to drink hot tea. Maybe because the thermometer shows a minus one, or maybe because we celebrate Christmas a little differently. The sun will rise only after a few long hours…
Volunteer at Teatro Metaphora – Associação de Amigos das Artes
European Solidarity Corps
To know more: https://europa.eu/youth/solidarity_en