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Memories of Christmas Mangeshi the Light of My Eyes?


الكاتب : المدير

غير متصل حالياً

المجموعةمدير الموقع

المشاركات570

تاريخ التسجيلالأحد 20-12-2009

معلومات اخرى
حرر في الأربعاء 29-12-2010 09:56 صباحا - الزوار : 5366 - ردود : 1



By: Francis Kalo Khosho




My first memories of  Christmas center in my home town Mangeshi village, which lies in the  mountainous region of Northern Iraq, in the province of Dehook. Its  houses are nestled between a hill and a mountain, a locale very  reminiscent of Bethlehem in year one of our era. The mountain is part of  the Gara range of the Zagros Mountains, that border the Supna valley on  the south and rises to nearly 700 feet. This region was a home to  millions of Chaldeo-Assyrian people, which is now formally known as  Kurdistan home of Kurds.


Mangeshi village has a compact,  nucleated structure of over five hundred homes. It is a conglomeration  of houses standing next to each other, divided by winding alleys and  paths. Some houses are attached to each other, with walls shared most of  the time, and most of the village houses are so close together that one  can walk or jump from roof to roof without much sdifficulty.


Memories of home and country, folks and friends and of persons and  occasions of the last thirty three years overcrowd my mind. Christmas  day, the nine day fast, midnight mass, social life after morning mass,  people greeting one another, Christmas cookies (cadi), and cylindrical  wood stoves (zopa) are all mixed into these early memories


 


مانكيش كوم .


Mangeshi Village nestled between a hill and a mountain


These years have been the most formative of my life, for they mark  the transitional period from the countryside, where life is simple and  unsophisticated, to the city where life assumes its complexities and  magnifies its privileges. The mind projects itself back to the days of  youth in the country, and to the little village of Mangeshi, the light  of my eyes.


The villagers have always been religion-conscious.  Their traditions were well established, as far back as early  Christianity. The Christmas season, and more particularly Christmas day,  has impressed itself most vividly in my memory. The days of fasting  that preceded it, the preparation for the feast, the liturgy, and the  day itself, certainly constitute an experience that is everlasting.


The Eastern Chaldean Church has a custom of a nine day fast. The  abstinence of all food, drink, and tobacco being eschewed would  completely stop until noon struck on the last day. It was observed as a  preparation for Christ and was out of concern for developing a  Christ-mindedness in order to welcome Christ and His birth. Other  preparations which concerned the feast itself were organized by mothers  and elder sisters who were kept busy for a good part of the time. They  were busy sewing Christmas dresses, assembling house decorations,  preparing provisions for the feast and the like. It was an absolute  necessity that all the children in the family be newly fitted.


A  particularly fascinating spectacle was the baking of the Christmas  bread, all of which was baked the day or night before amid choruses of  song. This is a very special affair where talent and ingenuity render  admirable service. A great variety of patterns and forms are displayed  on these occasions: circular, triangular, square, the shape of a cane  (qopala), little doll shapes, or whatever mother would dream up. Every  family in the village makes a very large circular piece (called  “Christmas cake”) about thirty inches in diameter for the pastor. What  does the pastor do with all of these cakes? I never knew.


In  this little village, Christmas possesses picturesque joy I have not seen  anywhere else. On Christmas night, scores of children would go  trick-or-treating from house to house. This is known as “Mel Melava”  wishing the son or daughter of the house to be the best bride or groom  in the village, and singing traditional songs associated with melody and  rhyme. For example: “Mel Melapha Yosip Zapha, Mel Meloki Tha Mkhomatha  Boki.” I presume that every single house in the village had such calls.  This same custom prevails throughout the village today.


مانكيش كوم


“Mel Melava” Trick-or-Treat


The highlight of the whole season was the Christmas service. It began  at about midnight when the church bells would call people to worship.  The chanting of the office began, and the people would stream into the  church in crowds until it was literally full. All would participate, old  and young. Children would come in early to find a good position for the  ceremony where so that they could see everything. The custom of taking  off one’s shoes upon entering the church was peculiarly interesting in  that hundreds of shoes were scattered about the entrance. How to find  your shoes among so many and with such great variety was the challenge  of the evening!


The mass begins after the priest and deacons  finish the morning office. The priest was vested with his best garb:  amice, alb, stole, cincture, maniple, and the cope. All the deacons  would wear: albs, stoles, and cinctures. The acolytes (telmethi) dress  in white, whether lace or linen, with a red band around their waist, and  another decorated round piece of material on their shoulders. When the  mass started, the priest would come down from the altar and stand before  the iconostasis (sitra), a long and wide sort of curtain that was  adorned with a cross in the middle, and which separated the sanctuary  from the rest of the church. It was to be drawn open during the liturgy  at the first ablutions and would reveal a heavenly sight. The church was  lit entirely by candles; there were no electric lights anywhere. There  was the priest in the front and two rows each composed of about fifteen  acolytes forming two lines perpendicular to the altar. In back of the  acolytes the deacons would stand with the rest of the choir, singing to  the sound of cymbals (sanoji). This wondrous scene would meet the eyes  as the iconostasis would open, and the beautiful sight would stand out  with all of its simplicity, and majestic inspiration. It would command  the attention of the mind, the affections of the heart, and the yearning  of the soul.


The congregation, men and women, boys and girls,  all together at certain parts of the mass would sing with those in the  sanctuary. Men and women were separated and there were usually no seats.  The body of the church was divided into two parts: the front and the  back. In the front, boys would sit forward, and men were to the rear; in  the back, the girls would sit forward and the women in the rear.


Social gatherings would start after the mass. One usually finds a big  gathering outside the church on such occasions, people greeting each  other, others pulling each other by the sleeves to see if they can get  their friends to come to breakfast. Most would invite friends to a  little gathering for the afternoon, nothing too big, just a roasted  sheep or lamb head and legs (qarqeptha), stuffed stomach (kepaye), a few  drinks (‘Arak, wine, etc.) and whatever goes to make an enjoyable  afternoon. Primarily, however, the feast was for the different branches  of a numerous family connection, where there were the usual guests of  old uncles and aunts, cousins, married sons and daughters, grandparents,  young folks, some nearly grown up, others of a more tender and budding  age, all gathering together for a warm and affectionate merry season.  They were variously occupied: some conversing around the cylindrical  fire wood stove (zopa), where an enormous logs, glowing and blazing, and  sending a vast volume of light and heat (mdabdobie) would burn.


The seasonal Christmas visit, would bring to the house anyone from the  mayor (ra’s) to others in the village. The best and often only, chair  was accorded to the priest when he would visit a home, and a tray of the  best fruits and Christmas cookies were immediately offered. The rest of  the family, but usually the head of the household, would squat on his  heels or sit on a low stool. They would commence with the greetings,  wishing each other a Merry Christmas. The visitor would extend his  greetings to all members of the family, with the most common greeting  being: “Hewayle Maran” and the response “Shuha L’Shimeh” meaning “our  Lord is born”,




“Glory be to His name.” Then all would sit down and everybody would participate in the conversation.


A usual custom on an occasion like this would be that no matter whom  the visitor was, he would always show particular attention to the child  of the family by giving him or her toys, little gifts, tell him or her  jokes to the merriment of all; and, place them on his knee for the rest  of story time.


The child of course would take liberties. He  might tug at the wide band across the visitor’s waist, or pull at the  beads encircling his dagger which was stuck under his wide band, or,  fascinated by the gold, silver and studded stones of the sheath; he  might pull the dagger out of its sheath all together. The dagger that  men would carry on such occasions was purely decorative.


Such  seasonal visits would rarely end in a matter of minutes. They would go  on for hours, which were spent smoking, drinking (Turkish coffee, or  tea), and eating. Everyone that would come in was encouraged to try the  Christmas bread.


When one family would visit another, they would  have practically the same procedure. However, the visiting family was  the guest for the whole day, and they could not return home even if they  tried. In this most cordial atmosphere all were treated well, and the  children exceptionally so


مانكيش كوم .


Children playing on the ice


Such simple folks show great contentment in their lot. Their life is  not at all like it is in America; rather, it is much simpler. But far  greater was the basic participation of the Christmas ceremonies in which  all shares, whether in America or in the Chaldean villages, offered by  the Divine Dweller in the Crib.


Due to the current situation in  my homeland, it is of particular importance this year that I extend my  blessings and prayers to all who have been affected. It is my hope that  they will find strength and peace in the upcoming Christmas season and  stays faithful through these trying times.







توقيع (المدير)
http://www.m5zn.com/uploads/2010/3/12/photo/gif/g0wj2nhngz535w49lg6.gif

 

(آخر مواضيعي : المدير)

  السيد أنور هدايه يشارك في الجلسة الافتتاحية لملتقى الشباب الكلداني السرياني الآشوري

  صور قداس اول ايام الصوم في كنيسة ماركوركيس / مانكيش

  صور احتفال ابناء مدينة وندزور الكندية بالبطريرك الجديد

  اعلان من موقع منكيش

  حركة تجمع السريان تشارك في اجتماعات هيئة الاحزاب السياسية العراقية في السويد

 

 

 

 تنبيه : جميع الاراء الواردة تعبر عن رأي أصحابها و لا علاقة لإدارة موقع مانكيش كوم بها

 

جميع المواد المنشورة في موقع مانكيش كوم بكل أقسامه لا تُعبّر بالضرورة عن رأي إدارة الموقع

ويتحمل صاحب الموضوع المسؤولية كاملة عما نشره وجميع ردود الفعل المترتبة عليه

 

رقم المشاركة : #2708

الكاتب : samdesho

مستشار لادارة موقع مانكيش

غير متصل حالياً

المجموعةعضو مميز

المشاركات213

تاريخ التسجيلالجمعة 06-11-2009

معلومات اخرى
حرر في الخميس 30-12-2010 01:29 مساء
Dear Francis

We all, in diaspora, share same memories and experience. well done, your article is very interesting as it contains very important information about Mangeshe, its people and its traditions. As I know, you have alot about Mangeshe and I encourage you to write for the benefit of mangeshe community.

Merry Christmas and happy new year

Sam Desho Khanjarou
Sydney-Australia

توقيع (samdesho)