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Christmas for the Onobasulu (part 1)

December 11, 2012

For the Onobasulu, Christmas time is a special time of the year. As they are in the southern hemisphere, it is the warmer time of the year with longer days. So, the few of the Onobasulu that have jobs away, often come home to see family during this time. Also, students return home from their boarding schools.

But the biggest item in the community yearly calendar is the Christmas Crusade. So the first couple of weeks of December prepares for the week or two of special church services.

Therefore, the Onobasulu people are busy gathering produce from their gardens and washing sago. What is washing sago? Basically, you go to your allotted portion of sago swamp to choose a mature sago palm. The men of the family then chop that tree down and split it in half. Then the ladies (& sometimes men) will then beat the sago into pulp. The pulp is then washed through water to allow the starch to settle out. That starch from the sago is what is used for cooking later. In our area there are 2 main ways that the sago is cooked. Mostly, the sago is stuffed into small fresh cut bamboo tubes and placed into the coals of the cooking fire. This produces a tube of steamed sago. The second popular way of cooking sago is to make a kind of sago pancake. I do like fresh cooked sago. Nice and filling! And I am so glad that the Onobasulu do NOT cook the goopy, soupy version of sago prepared on the north coast area of PNG!

Are you all prepared for your Christmas visiting and feasts?

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