While all holidays are grounded in one tradition or another, there is an almost universal agreement that what truly matters during this time of the year is family, kindness to one another, community, and gratitude for the past year. This was a theme we noticed when we asked our Rwandan artisans what the holidays mean to them. Here’s what they had to say…
“At Christmas, I love to celebrate this special time of year with my husband and two children, and New Year’s Day I make our favorite family meal… Chips, rice, and meat! My dream for 2019 is to cement the house we have built!”
“The holidays are always a special time for our family to celebrate, as it’s the day all my children get new clothes! It’s also a time for me to renew my dream of starting a small shop in our village that supplies small items of food like sugar, rice, potatoes, bananas and other foods we use in our daily life.”
“To me and my family, the holidays mean happiness—it’s a time when we look back over what went well and where we can improve from the year that’s gone. It’s also a time to look forward, create important goals for our family, and plan the steps to get there.”
“The holidays are a reminder to continue being a role model for my grandchildren. I want to have a savings account so that whatever they need, I can give them. I also spend time at church being thankful for my life and for the safety of my family over the past year, as well as lots of time on the phone calling and celebrating with my children!”
“As a young mother, Christmas is a time that my husband and I celebrate our little one and spend time with either my family or my husband’s family. My dream for next year is to start saving for my child’s school fees as well as buying more land for my family with the income I get from weaving.”
“The holidays mean a lot to me because it’s when I take time to pray and be thankful. At Christmas and New Year I focus my attention on providing for my children and going to church. My plan looking forward is to continue paying school fees for my children and start to think about what I need to provide for my eldest son who will soon start secondary school.”
For the female artisans of Rwanda, the holidays are a time to be with family, to give thanks for what was, to reflect back on the past year, and to focus on which dreams they want to realize in 2019.
While different cultures have different beliefs and traditions, the one thread that runs deeply between us all is our desire to support our families and improve our lives. We thank them wholeheartedly for being such incredible examples of what the holiday season is all about.