FLAT BAY While regular Christmas traditions are practised in the home of Bobby White and his family of Flat Bay, some traditions of his Mi’kmaq background are also incorporated.
That’s because White wants his children, Cheyenne Cote, who is 11 years of age and Mackenzie White, 10 years old, to know about the importance of “giving back” in addition to receiving on Christmas Day.
White starts his Christmas Day by trying to keep the kids calm after they wake up and getting them downstairs, where they carry out a smudging ceremony inside their house.
After that’s completed, they head outside and make a tobacco offering to the Creator. It’s after those ceremonies are complete that the kids will open their gifts.
Once dinner is cooked and before they go to the table at mealtime, a small amount of the cooked food was to be taken outside and placed in the ground as an offering to the Creator.
“This is a sign of respect and giving back to Mother Earth for everything she has given you. It helps keep you humble,” White said.
Immediately after that ceremony the family will go inside and have their meal so that they’re eating it in unison with the offering they placed in the ground being still warm.
After their meal, it’s family time for White and his girlfriend and the kids to go visiting, which include a visit to his mom Bernice White.
He said his mom always tells stories about Christmas in the past, comparing what they didn’t have with what people have today. She always brings up Old Christmas Day and the tradition of putting fruit into a stocking, which is something her son still does for his kids to this day.
There are also visits to the homes of his brothers, Francis Sheppard, Ross White and Randy Sheppard, where Christmas stories are also shared.White said his immediate family perform the ceremony as a daily routine.
“I teach my children ceremony so they can carry on our teachings along with other rituals such as Christmas,” he said.