It’s a beautiful morning on the 13th January.
But what are these? Scattered rubbish in our sun streamed ‘engawa’, the in-house veranda?
No, the pieces of paper are from last night’s visit by the Ombe Gods.
Near the midnight last night, the paper made Ombe Gods, ‘Ombe’ being an ancient word for a piece of paper or a card, visited my house along with all the other households in our region.
It is a New year’s greetings from our regional God.
They are a pair of a big Onbe for adults & a small Ombe for children which are carried by men and boys who ran through the chilly and frozen night visiting every household from door to door.
When the shouting of the boys and the sound of the drum came nearer, I settled myself ready and sat at the veranda waiting for those messengers of Gods’ to come.
Then came running a local young man with big Ombe God, greeting me,”Omedeto!”, which means celebrations, followed by a 6th grader boy with smaller Ombe god shouting the same thing, followed by several smaller boy messengers throwing me the pieces of paper dropped off from the Gods.
Last night, for the first time ever, one of the smallest boys put the paper dutifully ON my lap, for which I somehow felt very warm!
This Ombe festival is dutifully succeeded by elementary school boys in my region on every 12th January.
After carried all through the region, the Gods are settled at a small shrine till the 14th, when they are to put up on to a high pole, eventually to be removed on the 8th February.