The tradition of going around singing Christmas carols from house to house or Christmas Caroling started from the European continent since centuries ago. This tradition is also carried out by the American community, although lately the interest has begun to decrease, but there is a community in Centreville, Virginia that regularly does it every year.
The Dewa Family and Kate Hopkins Dirga started the Caroling tradition when they moved to their new neighborhood in the City of Centreville, Virginia in 2016. For Kate, a high school teacher, this tradition reminds her of her childhood.
“When I grew up in our ward I have many fond memories of our neighborhood gathering to sing Christmas carols, there was one family who always had an after party with cakes and hot chocolate and I’m sure the adults provided other things too but the kids -the kids really enjoyed the after caroling meal.”
The togetherness of this gathering also reminds God who is great in Indonesia even though he has a different religion and culture.
“I am not a Christian, but a Hindu but we are enthusiastic about celebrating Christmas as a form of support because my wife and all the family are also Christians. So we just support, participate,” he said.
The holidays and the longing for togetherness and a sense of family made Kate and Dewa determined to do it with their neighbors, including Jill and Josh Paulin.
“It’s great to have such good neighbours. It’s been a great experience for us to come together and spread the Christmas cheer,” said Jill.
“It’s an exciting time for neighbors to have fun,” Josh added.
There are no special requirements and preparations for the community to join in singing Christmas carols.
“We were quite present and brought song lyrics, some sang one song, and others sang all the songs and we were all having fun,” Josh said.
Caroling in Kate’s environment is not only followed by adults but also children who grow and play together from childhood to adolescence. Tommy and Elizabeth since childhood participated in enlivening Caroling.
“I usually go out and walk after that hang out with all my friends,” said Tommy.
“I absolutely love this, it’s part of our Christmas tradition in this neighborhood,” Elizabeth said.
Caroling begins when the sun has set in the middle of the weather which is quite friendly in winter. This year Kate prepared enough songs to sing along.
“In the first year we brought a booklet but it didn’t go well because no one could find the right song in the package so we cut it down. So this year I just picked 10 songs that we really like, some general songs and some more religious like Holy Night and First Christmas,” Kate said.
Participants knocked on the doors of neighbors’ houses who happily listened to Christmas carols.
“Merry Christmas, thanks for stopping by”
“We wish you a Happy Hari Raya to all, healthy, happy and peaceful”
The dark environment and cold weather did not prevent Kate and her community from sharing the joy of neighbors and the spirit of welcoming Christmas. The party after Caroling with each family’s favorite dishes and warm drinks is ready to start. [my/di]