By Joseph Malinga
For the older generation in Katine, insurgency, cattle rustling and western influences have changed the way Christmas is celebrated in the sub-county over the past 20 years.
A successful harvest of sorghum in Katine has given some villagers a temporary respite this Christmas from the food shortages experienced in the region recently.
But Christmas celebrations have changed in the Teso region of north-east Uganda over the past 20 years. The dancing, drinking, ululating and slaughtering of animals and chicken that used to mark the festive season, and would last well into the new year, have vanished mainly as a result of insecurity caused by insurgency and cattle rustling.
For Joseph Ajoli, 66, a resident of Abarilela village in Ojama parish, Christmas celebrations were for relatives and friends, who would get together to celebrate the end of one year and the start of the next.
There could be a whole week designated to what Ajoli termed "amudari Ekuron" (removing the ash), which literally meant to send off the old year and welcome a new one.
The season involved eating and drinking. It was also a time when family would return home to share the festivities.
This meant a lot of preparation had to be done. Residents would form groups, pulling together resources - cows, goats or sheep for slaughter, and millet for brewing local beer, popularly known as ajon.
Ajoli says Christmas in his village now is not as exciting as it was in the past. More....