of giving thanks
photography & story — Lum Mawun
The act of giving should not be summed up into one day. After all, with the endless amount of things that there are to be grateful for, why simplify it to one dinner? In most religions, the act of giving is one that is thought to be a constant one. Meaning, rather than just dedicating one day to show one’s appreciation for life and all the people and things it encompasses, it should be done every day. In Christianity, Catholicism specifically, people are taught live in in a constant state of giving and appreciation for the one who has saved them each day they are given the chance to.
In Cameroon, this practice is in full motion year round due to the huge role Catholicism plays in the country’s culture. Not only does it impact the daily lives of those who practice it but also, the entire structure of the country. So much so that throughout the year public holidays such as Accession Day, held on the 39th day after Easter, and The Assumption of Mary Day, held on the 15th of August each year, are dedicated to giving thanks to God for all He has done and what they believe He has yet to do.
Because of this, it is not uncommon to hear a Cameroonian celebrating a thanksgiving mass during what may seem as random times of the year. Here, special church services are dedicated to celebrating the lives of those who have passed and those who are still alive. In doing this, people seek to honor the life of a loved one (either dead or alive), and give thanks to God for giving them life.
Today, the tradition is no different. Whether it be the middle of April or end of November, thanksgiving mass can be seen throughout the year as a way of Cameroonian Catholics showing their appreciation to God.