Senegal is a beautiful and diverse country . It’s people are warm, inspiring and always happy. It is a wonderful place with a hot and humid tropical climate system. It is located in West Africa and subtly open its mouth to Gambia and the Atlantic ocean.
If you have never been there…well let me tell you, once you land and hit the ground, you will see everyone crossing your way, just smiles at you. It is, by far, the best welcoming I have ever experienced.
Growing up in France, I always wondered why people would put on their best, shiniest outfits on heels to go and sit on a plane for 5-6 hours. How uncomfortable can that be? But I got it now! I found out when I landed in Dakar, in march 2012, that the party starts right there, at the doors of the airport; and Senegalese people being the stylish fashionable people that they are, better be ready.
Once you leave the plane, Senegal says welcome by sending your way lots of people dancing on Mbalax music or Sabar and others snapping pictures of you while everyone else tries to hold every single little thing you may be carrying so you can lightly walk to the car and if you cool enough… you can also dance your way to the car. Very impressive! One is left with no other choice than only enjoy the journey with such a debut experience as this formidable greeting. Right?
All of this to say that Senegalese are way more than welcoming, they make one part of the family for the time of his or her stay. In the same sense, religions co-live with one another as muslims and christians coexisted peacefully in Senegal. Christians and catholics celebrate muslims holidays and vice versa. Where 95% of Senegalese and residents are muslims, the Christmas festivities would still be celebrated by way more than 5% of the populace. Whomever you are and wherever you may be, you may be impacted by the effect Christmas has on people. While some would fall into the consumerism, others may see there an occasion for a family gathering if not to celebrate the Christ or also called prophet Issa (‘alayi Salam).
In Senegal, (based on some online research and direct interviews of non-christians) people promote quality time with family instead of shopping frenzy to show how much they love each others. Christmas eve is spent singing and dancing and the 25th diner is the time for everyone to get together around a sumptuous feast.
To you African refugees, Senegal and all the nations of the world, I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. Happy New Year 2013 in advance!
Click here to see more picture of Senegal. Marcos Garcia’s profile.