Photo courtesy: lifeinmombasa.com
Celebration season comes with a lot of merry but we will all agree that without children, our events just seem incomplete. It is always very interesting to see cute and sweet children everywhere with those banana smiles full of excitement.
Since time immemorial, children would always anticipate such an event, get excited over their new clothes for the occasion and would go to the extent of hiding the clothes till the D-day as if a thief would take it away from them. When the day finally comes, we would be the first ones to wake up without our mothers having to drag us out of the bed like on school days. We would be anxious to bathe quickly and be fully dressed before anyone else and start showing off how pretty we look. The most interesting part of all this affair though is going visiting relatives whereby the children are keen enough to ensure that they greeted every single relative in order to get ‘good cash.’ I remember during my childhood when my older siblings would get more cash and my mother would always console me that when I grew up things would get better. Only to realize that, the older you grew, the less you are given. This however has been changing in generations and the lucky, remained so. Before the end of the day, the children would all huddle together; the siblings, cousins, neighbours and each would start boasting of the money in their pockets and of the long lists of things they would buy. Trust me, children turn into very skillful accountants on this day!
The unique thing in our coast region though, is the gwaride that goes round different parts of old town and Mombasa with their musical instrument as they move from one household to another. The team is quite interesting and entertaining in their red and white uniforms, sometimes red, blue and black uniforms, some in ugly masks as the trumpets and drums calls for attention everywhere. You would never miss a group of children following behind and jumping up and down to the rhythm of the drums. My very young niece was there singing all time ‘mama nataka gwaride! Mama nataka gwaride!’ and could barely eat well at the anticipation of the gwaride.
What follows next after the gwaride is the ‘makadara’ chorus by the children whereby they would whine and whine until they get a volunteer to take them to the swings playground at makadara grounds. This has been an old tradition at the coast and for the children, eid is not eid without going to makadara. The playgrounds would stay for as long as a week so that everyone equally has a chance to enjoy their days in the playgrounds.
With all that, eid would not be all that interesting without all these pretty children everywhere. If we imagine a scenario without them, then the adults would probably just visit the elders and just after having their lunch, they would probably go back to their beds for a nap. So cheers to all the cute children who just make our days!