In the part of the world where I grew up, the months of September, October, November and December popularly known as the ’ember’ months have been regarded by many, as a period of the year that comes with mixed feelings, when the good, the bad and the ugly take place. There is usually a great feeling of fear, carefulness and apprehension, as one “Ember” month pave way for the other. Yes, in this part of the world, it has gained a certain level of notoriety… there is also an evident conceptual framework within which the activities of this reason are carried out.
Unlike September and November, December marks and accommodates the climax of the activities and events of the season.
There are celebrations and ceremonies, ranging from thanksgivings, weddings (both traditional and white), end-of-year parties, dedications, coronations, and remembrances, end of meetings, get-together . . .and sometimes, funerals.
People celebrate with a high level of enthusiasm, as they rejoice with others, forgetting the problems, challenges and misfortunes that befell them in the earlier parts of the year.
A periodic change in the prices of goods and services is usually experienced- “ember” inflation! Surprisingly, the increment has been shown to be solely dependent on the season, and not on a commensurate increase in the value of the goods and services. The laws of demand and supply are allowed to comfortably play their roles in the market, especially on those goods like foodstuffs, drinks, clothing, footwear etc, which are on high demand.
The Christians, on the 25th day of December celebrate Christmas, to mark the day which Jesus Christ, the one and only begotten son of the Almighty God was born through Mary into the world. It is actually celebrated more than any other event in Christendom. The Jews celebrate Hanukkah, also known as the festival of lights or the festival of dedication in early December. Most people seize the period to travel to their hometowns, where they take out some quality time to rest from work and also, fraternize with friends, relatives and well-wishers.
Many people seem to suddenly wake up to the knowledge of the shortness of time for achieving their yearly set goals. Brigade-approach to things becomes prevalent in the ’ember’ months.
Drivers resort to over-speeding and careless overtaking so as to cover more grounds and redeem the time, making them constant victims of road accidents. Currently in Nigeria, the Federal Road Safety Commission officials do more work to enlighten the road users on the dangers of reckless driving in the season via our media houses during “ember” months. They also try enforcing strictly, the road-safety rules and regulations, to avoid the increase in road mishaps and loss of lives on our ‘death-traps’, masquerading as roads.
The season is also decorated with some nefarious activities. Some people, who returned home are killed, maimed or brainwashed due to mere jealousy. Food poisoning and ritual killing are usually on the increase. Some men and women go to any length for money, even to the extent of untimely terminating the lives of their loved ones; stealing and prostitution are not out of the game. Some young girls are raped and even deflowered as they embark on illicit visits. These and many more horrible things are perpetrated as people get determined to desperately show-off and be like others during the yuletide season.
Interestingly, some life-long relationships are initiated and started within this period. Our beauty and hairdressing salons are usually packed with funky ladies, who are queued up and scrambling for turns to beautify themselves. In a quest to be outstanding, some young men go hiring cars at exorbitant prices for their egocentric parades.
The euphoric mood of many people is usually short-lived as they are cut short by their carelessness. Statistics has it that many lives are lost in the season from even inconsequential causes. People seem to die willfully and freely as if it is the best time to bid farewell to the ever-growing world. The devil is sharply blamed, as he patiently and carefully capitalize on people’s mistakes, carelessness and ignorance to either disfigure, hurt or annihilate them.
When the season is over, young girls that escaped death, hurriedly visit hospitals for pregnancy tests, young men go for HIV tests and other relevant tests, as their curious minds search for the results of their deeds in their unguarded moments.
Knowing that the days are evil, let’s prayerfully and cautiously flee from those things that have the tendency to victimize us. As we go about celebrating, eating, drinking and meeting people, let’s open our eyes widely; be clever as serpents. Let’s carefully scrutinize the sources and contents of the gifts we receive. Let’s check what our mouths say, closely monitor the rhythm of our steps, look into the addresses of our dresses and rightly analyze the friendliness of our purported friends. Why? Because everything and indeed everyone is a potential suspect, as far as safety and survival in this season is to be guaranteed.
Happy “Ember” Month!
Image via “Smashingmagazine”