Wanatjura Lewis – Christmas Story


On Christmas day we would enjoy riding our donkeys and then there would be different Christmas activities for us. We were just naked children then, and we would have a fun day. We’d have tug-o-war competitions, and we’d have races with biscuits balanced on the tops of our heads. We’d run fast to win the race. Then we’d put our hands behind our backs and there would be a big tank filled with water and things like apples bobbing on the surface, and we’d dip our faces in trying to bite the apples! Those are the sorts of fun things we would do back then. We’d have a very enjoyable time playing and we’d say, ‘That was fun. What good games!’ We’d be awarded lovely prizes and they’d be handed out. Then we’d find our donkeys again and happily return home! Palya.

Translated by Linda Rive

An apple bobbing competition at Christmas in Pukatja AI-0004399 Photo: Bruce Edenborough Courtesy Ara Irititja


Christmas-ngka nganaṉa panya nyaa donkey-ngka ankupai Christmas day pukulaṟira munula kutjupa nyaa panya Christmas-ngka tjitji tjuṯa nikiti nganaṉa panya nyaa activity panya wiṟu tjuṯa ngaṟapai. Ruupangka ilantjaku, biscuit tjunanyi katangka munu riitjarinyi. Uwa. Wirtjapakaṉi winakitja. Manyirka maṟa kampa kutjupa tjunkupai munu nyaangka panya kapingka, kapi puḻkangka nyaa panya tanka kapi tjutilpai munu nyaa tjuṯa apula kutjupa kutjupa tjuṯa tjunkupai ka nganaṉa tjarpapai munu patjalpai tjitjingku! Uwa, nyara paluṟu tjana nganampa ngaṟapai wiṟu tjuṯa. Ka nganaṉa inkara pukularipai, ‘Uwa, wiṟunya! Game wiṟu!’ Uwa munu wiṟu tjuṯa mantjilpai prize panya. Nganaṉanya ungkupai. Nganaṉa pukulaṟira mantjira ngurakutu ankupai donkey-ngka pukuḻpa! Palya.

Tug of war competition on Christmas day. AI-0004495 Photo: Doug Hooper Fregon 1964. Courtesy  Ara Irititja