I was the oldest of all the elves, and younger ones kept asking me, “How are you holding up?” Very thoughtful I’m sure. I wouldn’t have missed it. And I kept spotting more and more virtues in the midst of the celebration.
After an opening prayer, the parade began. One of the smallest floats in the entire world walked by – no vehicle, not even a red wagon – just a few children wearing lots of green and red tinsel and carrying balloons. I thought they showed courage and confidence.
The largest float was a huge earth mover festooned with palm branches. In between, well-loved musician and retired teacher Frank Sabatano came with his mini truck decorated with tiny Christmas stockings, the back full of candy tossing Christmas elves, including his wife Hermie and son Akatapu.
The parade ended with gifts handed out to all the children, from babies to pre-teens, all of whom lined up in orderly fashion. This is the first year I have seen that, and it eliminated the chaos which used to make the little ones cry. This year there were mostly smiles and kisses for Mama Santa who handed out many of the gifts. The contributions of several caring businesses and individuals made this possible.
Drummers played with great enthusiasm and the children danced and laughed joyfully. Free family photos were taken by my husband, Papa Dan. The whole event flowed smoothly, thanks to the efficiency and willing service of the organizing committees.
Delicious foods such as curried goat, pork, rice with mushroom cream sauce, and cakes were in abundance. It felt as if nearly the whole island population was there, enjoying the children’s pleasure, offering ample applause, lots of laughter, and of course visiting together.
The following day, the Paki Paki Tai van delivered boxes of gifts to children around the island through the generosity of the Aroa Mou Trust in Rarotonga.
The virtue that struck me most was the love and unity amongst everyone. Too often, this season finds individuals isolated from one another, but here in these islands, it is a time to come together, to share the spirit of Kia Orana and Christmas blessings with everyone.