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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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HARVEST CELEBRATION IN LIBERIA

MANY PEOPLE IN LIBERIA DEPEND ON AGRICULTURE.
AGRICULTURE DEPENDS ALSO ON FAVORABLE WEATHER
CONDITIONS. THERE ARE TWO SEASONS. THE RAINY AND THE
DRY SEASON. IF THERE ISN'T SUFFICIENT RAIN THERE
WOULDN'T BE SUFFICIENT HARVEST AND THE SITUATION TENDS TO
CREATE UNHAPPINESS IN OUR COMMUNITY. WE HAVE DEVELOPED
RITES AND CEREMONIES THAT RELATES TO RURAL LIFE.
HARVEST CELEBRATION IS AN ACTIVITY WHICH
STRENGTHENED COMMUNITY CONSCIOUSNESS AND SOLIDARITY.
THE HARVEST CELEBRATION IS USUALLY CELEBRATED AT THE
BEGINNING OF THE YEAR. IT IS ALSO A FAMILY AFFAIR.
IT IS A TIME WHEN RELATIVES COME TOGETHER TO CELEBRATE THE
NEW YEAR AND TO REFLECT ON THE PAST YEAR. IT IS A TIME
OF HAPPINESS. BEFORE COLONIZATION, FAMILIES WOULD MEET AT THE
HOME OF THE OLDEST MALE RELATIVE.
AN EXAMPLE WOULD BE THE FATHER, GRANDFATHER, A NEPHEW OR
AN UNCLE OR A DISTANT MALE RELATIVE.
FAMILY MEMBERS ARE PRESENT. INDIVIDUALS CAN ONLY BE EXCUSE
IN THE CASE OF DEATH OR SERIOUS ILLNESS.
RELATIVES WHO LIVE FAR AWAY USUALLY ARRIVE AHEAD OF
SCHEDULE; THEY ARRIVE A DAY AHEAD.
ON THE LAST DAY OF THE YEAR, A SMALL CELEBRATION IS HELD.
RELATIVES ARE OFFICIALLY WELCOME, THE OLDEST MALE IS
PRESENTED WITH GIFTS. THE GIFTS CONSISTS OF CORN,
CATTLE, WHEAT OR RICE. THE YOUNG MEN AND WOMEN USUALLY
ARE GATHERED OUTSIDE AND ARE CIRCLED BY
A FIRE. THEY CARRY ON A CONVERSATION. THE GRANDMOTHERS
SIT WITH THE CHILDREN NEAR A FIRE AND TELL FOLKTALES.
ON NEW YEAR'S MORNING, GOATS ARE SLAUGHTERED. THE YOUNG
MEN PREPARE THE GOAT FOR COOKING AND ROASTING. THE
WOMEN TRAVELS INTO THE FOREST TO GATHER WOOD. THE WOMEN
RETURN AND PREPARE THE MEAL FOR THE BIG CELEBRATION.
WHILE THE WOMEN ARE COOKING, THE MEN ARE GATHERED
IN A SPECIAL GROUP TO CONVERSE AND TO DRINK PINEWINE. A PINE IS
SHARED AMONG THE MALES. MATTERS OF VITAL IMPORTANCE
ARE DISCUSSED. VILLAGE IMPROVEMENT IS ALSO DISCUSSED.
THE HARVEST CELEBRATION IS USUALLY READY BY MID_AFTERNOON.
EVERYONE EATS AT THIS TIME. AFTER EVERYONE HAS EATEN,
THE WOMEN ARE LEFT ALONE TO PERFORM THE CLEANING.
THE MEN RETIRE TO ANOTHER LOCATION TO DISCUSS THE NEW YEAR.
AFTER CLEANING THE COOKING UTENSILS AND YARD,
THE WOMEN RETURN AND THE VILLAGE ELDERS
USUALLY PRAISE THE WOMEN FOR THE DELICIOUS MEAL
AND ENCOURAGES EVERYONE TO MAKE A WISH FOR THE NEW YEAR.
AFTER THE PRAISES AND SPEECH BY THE ELDERS,
WOMEN, MEN AND CHILDREN ALIKE ARE JOINED TOGETHER
FOR A FESTIVAL WHICH INCLUDES MUSIC AND DANCE.
AT THE END OF THE MUSIC WHICH USUALLY BRING THE HARVEST
TO AN END, A GRANDPARENT LEADS ALL IN PRAYERS FOR A SAFE
JOURNEY HOME.
THIS BRING A HAPPY AND MEMORABLE CELEBRATION TO AN END.

Submitter comment: THE CELEBRATION IS HELD DURING THE MONTH OF JANUARY.
WE PARTICIPATE IN THIS FESTIVAL ANNUALLY.

Where learned: LIBERIA ; BONG COUNTY

James Callow Keyword(s): IT IS ALSO SEXES ; SEPARATION OF THE SEXES ; SEXISM

Subject headings: Favorites
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- January
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 31 New Year's Eve
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Typical Elements of a Festive Pattern
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Typical Elements of a Festive Pattern
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Autumn Fall Harvest Thanksgiving
BELIEF -- Prayer

Date learned: 00-00-1968

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