Instead of snowflakes, scattered showers fell on various Christmas performers in Majuro as they went from one church to another showcasing their unique dances on Christmas Day.
Performing on Christmas Day has become one of Marshall Islands’ longstanding rituals — one that brings Christians from different communities, church groups and villages under one roof to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ.
This year, President Hilda Heine declared December 25 and 26 Christmas holidays.
It was to accommodate this Christmas extravaganza that the Public School System extended the school break from the usual two weeks to four.
Throughout the performances, that spanned to the next day, church leaders act as judges.
But competition or not, the jeptas (different church groups) would sing, dance, offer money and throw candies and goodies to the crowd.
Any avid Christmas goer would say Marshalls Christian High School students most likely would be tagged as top performers. That would not be the case this year as a new jepta, consisting mainly of Japanese in Majuro known as Apakaaj in Majel, was formed and has been the talk of town following performances throughout Majuro, like the one at K&K Island Pride in Delap prior to Christmas week.
Another hit group was Danny and Neti Nathan’s jepta from Uliga, which introduced the “sea wall construction” dance.
Most jepta choreographers depict everyday life in the islands in the dance created, like fishing, building homes, navigation, sports or even fixing the drainage system on the road.
Read more about this in the December 29, 2017 edition of the Marshall Islands Journal.