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1963 - December 24 - Caribou, Muktuk Head Menu at Eskimo Christmas Table
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) - Children all over the world, in some small corner of their hearts, must secretly envy the children of Barrow.
For how much close can one get to Santa and his workshop?
Barrow children are quite familiar with reindeer, except the flying kind, and the bright red-nosed variety.
Only a few of the oldest people in the village remember the coming of the missionaries. Around 1900 these missionaries brought with them the story of Christ and Christmas. They also told of the three wise men and the Christmas Star.
But the Eskimos knew of this star long before the coming of the missionaries. The old people say that long ago it was noticed at this time of year that an exceptionally large, bright star appeared above the horizon. It was accompanied by a smaller star. During the time of the longest darkness, in the latter part of December, those stars would line up together.
Then celebrations would begin in small villages across the Arctic. Families and friends got together to hold contests, play games and share food. It was an occasion everyone looked forward to.
Games of skill and endurance are still played in Barrow at this time of year. They begin the day after Christmas and continue until the New Year. Men, women and children participate.
And what will the children be eating for Christmas dinner at Barrow? Turkey for some, but they'll also eat caribou, which is a large deer, and muktuk. The muktuk, whale skin has been saved from last spring's hunts especially for the Christmas feast.
The whole family will attend church services and take part in pageants, just as others will be doing all over the world.
Want to know what the average boy and girl from Barrow want for Christmas? Why, the girls hope for dolls, and the boys wish for bicycles.
The Morning Record
December 24, 1963
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