During our last village trip, there was a huge church service and celebration to mark the end of the Christmas season. Everyone from all over the area was invited and there was a big potluck meal afterwards. Following that, there was batunjuk. This is a tradition from North Sulawesi that immigrants brought with them to our area, and the best way to describe it is a good old-fashioned hymn sing. Everyone sits in a circle inside the church and two people are chosen to start and are given flowers to hold. They choose the first song and as everyone sings they walk around the circle in opposite directions. When the song is over, the flowers are given to the person where they stop and those two new people pick the next song. This continues for several hours, sometimes even all night! The songs are chosen only from the old, traditional Christian songs that are rarely sung anymore, so it has a nostalgic feel to it. Even though they were old songs, it was encouraging to see people of all ages participating. Coffee, tea, and snacks are served and everyone relaxes and enjoys the singing; occasionally there’s dancing as well. I shot some video of the festivities to give you an idea of what it’s all about. The singing went on for hours and hours and hours . . . but it was great fun!
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