Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Biit

My Christmas Tree
The Marshallese celebrate Christmas by singing, dancing, and eating.  Usually this is done in the churches or neighborhoods all over the Marshall Islands.  For our church here on Majuro, the whole stake gets together at the stake center and they have canopies set up all over for different wards to have food  It is the biggest celebration of the year and the wards  practice for months to get their songs and dances ready.  Everybody dresses in Sunday best or in the clothes that their ward is wearing to do the dances.  This year it started off with a broadcast at 9 am of the First Presidency Devotional on a big screen. Then some of the primaries began to do their dancing and other groups follow.  They had an hour break for lunch and then the missionaries did our number and finally the wards began doing their program.  Each ward had about half hour scheduled, but most were well over an hour.  After all six wards and one branch did their programs, other churches and groups came in to do their numbers.  I didn't stay until the end, but I understand it didn't finish until 12:30 am.  Here are a few pictures
Elder Walden, Elder Winters, Elder Kaka (from Laie) and Elder Aaron dressed for the missionary Biit

The Elders and Sisters in the mission did a dance from Kiribati.  The Elders all wore their white shirts and ties and Santa hats.  The Sisters wore a specially made Kiribati shirt with our names on it.  I  need to get some pictures of us doing our biit dance to add here.  We had some members take pictures but I haven't got copies yet. We had a really fun time doing it. The Senior missionaries practiced a lot for the number but the young Elders and Sisters only got a couple of practices.  Several of our missionaries are from Kiribati and already knew the dance.

The Senior Sisters in our Biit shirts from Kiribati

Primary children from one of the wards dancing in the Biit

The Primary Children in a lot of the wards did their own dances.  The children were all dressed in their best with their hair done up cute.  Many of the children wore red and green for their dance costumes.  Many of the little girls had their hair done cute with braids and flowers.

The missionary Prep class singing a hymn

Primary Children dancing in the Biit
There are a lot of the YSAs that are preparing for missions.  It is really exciting to see.  Many of them are getting their education at the College of the Marshall Islands.  There are several RMs both girls and boys who have returned home and are giving wonderful service to their wards.  They are truly the leaders of the future.  Many of them are called to Oaklahoma, Arkansas, or Seattle Washington where there are lots of Marshallese people. 

Most of the dances are kind of line dances where the boys are on one side and the girls on the other.  Its almost a cross between regae and country western sometimes. 

This is a picture of some of the children from my primary in the Long Island Ward.  Our regular ward performance consisted of a hymn "Angels We Have Heard On High", three Marshallese songs and three Marshallese dances.  Right at the first of November they asked me to play the piano (keyboard) for the hymn.  Because of this I went to all of the practices they had.  In some ways that was a very frustrating situation but also a really good one because I was able to really become friends with many of the people in my ward.  The reason it was frustrating is that it was four nights a week for two months.  It was supposed to start at 7 pm but never ever started then and in fact towards the end it was after 8 when they did finally practice.  People here like to sit around and just wait and visit.  It must not bother them much because they do it all the time.  Its like most things are expected to start late.  Anyway, I went to all but two of the practices for that long  They always did my song first so I could leave if I had to, but by the time the Biit happened, I knew all the songs and dances and it was really fun. 

Dancing at the Biit

Elder Seru dancing at the Biit

When the Elders and Sisters have served in a ward, they get up with their ward and dance with them even if they don't know the dances.  Some of the missionaries dance with several wards
More Elders dancing with a ward

The big thing in each presentation is that one of the men or boys blows a whistle and that is the way that he directs the members of his group.  Some of the groups

The Ajeltake Branch doing a dance with fans

Head flowers are common either live or with pandanas and shells

The Rita ward dancing
Young people dancing from one of the wards

More cute little boys who came to my door to sell me sea shells.  I gave them some little treat bags

I think all these little boys are so cute that come selling shells

Some of these little boys were knocking on my door at 7:30 am Christmas morning.  I was able to give them some little bags of candy and toys.  They had such big smiles on their faces.

More Christmas decorations at my house along with all of my grandchildren's pictures

I want to thank so many of my family and friends for wonderful Christmas greetings, cards, gifts, and food.  You really made my Christmas very special.  It was hard in some ways, but we kept very busy as senior tmissionaries and as a result there wasn't time to feel sad.  On Christmas Day (American) I had lots of missionaries over at my house waiting for their companions to finish calling their families.  We ate treats, watched church videos and just relaxed.  Everybody was able to call home.  Most of the island missionaries and missionaries from New Zealand called their families on the day of the Biit, since that was when Christmas was for their families.

My apartment decorated with lights
Kommol Tata wonderful family and friends!
(Thank you very much)

No comments: