Blyden Family feeds 2,000 Persons to mark 40 Days of losing their Mother
By Awareness Times.
The Family of the late retired Civil Servant Mrs. Sylvia Editha Jolliminah Blyden, have fed up to two thousand persons in the Western Area of Sierra Leone in the first week of August 2021. This was done to mark the traditional “40 days commemoration” since the day she passed away.
The Blyden Family belongs to the Krio/Creole ethnic group which usually cooks large quantities of specific food items on the exact 40th Day after the death of their loved ones.
The Krios or Creoles, will normally cook Black-eyed Beans with Plaintains, Potatoes and Akara, White Rice with Palmoil Fry Meat Sauce, Foo-foo and Bitters, Foo-foo and Crain-Crain, Oleleh, Rice Pap, Rice Bread, Creole Cake and lots of other delicious food and serve them alongside large quantities of alcoholic and soft drinks to mark the traditional ceremonies undertaken on the 40th Day of the loss of a loved member of a Creole family.
The bereaved Krio family will then open their doors for a large numbers of persons to come and feast with them in memory of the lost loved one.
However, with the country’s NACOVERC regulations that strictly says there should be no more than 50 persons gathering at any social event currently, the Blydens decided to instead cook all the various dishes and serve them alongside cold and hard drinks to various persons all over the Western Area.
The Blydens catered for a whopping 2,000 (two thousand persons).
For example, Hot delicious Food and Cold Soft drink packages were served to hundreds and hundreds of Children up at Gloucester Village which is where the late Mrs. Blyden hailed from.
Food and Drinks were also served to various vulnerable homes across the Western Area including Old People’s Homes, to Disable Citizens, to hundreds of beggars across various points in the city especially underneath the Cotton Tree, to Youths at selected Attaya Bases, to Commercial Bike Riders, to Grave Diggers and Youths of Ascension Town Cemetery where the late Mrs. Blyden is buried with her Mammah relatives next to her grandmother and mother.
The grave of the late Mammah descendants has been built into a small edifice that is now described as the best looking grave in the entire Ascenscion Town Cemetery.
Also benefiting from the free food and drinks were youths at Race Course Cemetery which is the traditional burial place for the late Edward Wilmot Blyden 1st and other Blyden relatives.
The Family ensured beneficiaries of the excellent and deliciously cooked food and drinks included from various entities who had all helped to make the Civic Funeral of the late Mrs. Blyden to be well organised. They included all members of the Rural Police of the Western Area Rural District Council who were served food and drinks to their great delight.
The 40-Days event itself started on a low note in early morning with the digging of a hole in the ground for the traditional morning ‘Nyolleh’ ceremonies of pouring a selection of cooked salt-less food and a symbolic killing of an animal to be used to prepare food for the day.
Then by mid morning hours, the process continued with her children, family and sister in law moving to the grave site to lay traditional kola nuts and pour libation at the grave. They then shared the balance drinks and kola nuts to Youths at the cemetery area after the kolas were received spiritually by how they were turned on the grave.
The Family then moved back to the Blyden residence and at exactly midday of Sunday 1st August 2021, a small gathering of people led by church leaders, engaged in a service of praise and thanksgiving for the life of the late Mrs. Blyden.
The day ended at 6pm with the traditional ‘Nyolleh’ ceremonies of the Creoles which see senior members of the bereaved family gather around a hole dug in the ground and in to which food and drinks are poured as the spirits of ancestors are evoked to help shower down blessings on the family members still in the mortal world.
The ‘Nyolleh’ normally ends with little children rushing to grab various sweets and delights placed all around the ‘Nyolleh’ hole before the hole is finally covered just after 6pm.
Meanwhile, at the end of the Nyolleh ceremony for Mrs. Sylvia Editha Jolliminah Blyden’s 40-days event, the Blyden Family issued the following statement:
✝️THANKS FOR SYMPATHY✝️
The Family of the late
Mrs. Sylvia Editha Jolliminah Blyden
wish to thank all those who sympathized with us over the sudden loss of the Matriarch of our Family on 22nd June 2021 at age 76 years.
Forty Days have passed since the Lord called her to be up yonder amongst the other Angels and the shock is still not abated. However, Your Visits, Your Financial & Moral Support, Your Prayers for Us, Your Sympathy Cards, Your Prepared Food Dishes you dropped at the House, the Thousands of Phone Calls and Messages from all over the World expressing so much kind sentiments about her, have all helped tremendously to soothe the unexpected shock of losing her.
We also want to thank the Government of Sierra Leone, through the Western Area Rural District Council, for granting her such a splendid, well-organised Civic Farewell in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. Our Mother served Sierra Leone diligently as a Civil Servant and it was just appropriate that so many from across various political leanings and other demarcations, joined together to mourn her loss.
Special thanks to the Anglican Church and the Methodist Church who, alongside their Choristers, ensured her Funeral Service was the epitome of Class, Grace and Finesse – attributes that she lived by on earth.
WE THANK YOU ALL.
We also take solace in the fact that, just as she taught us to believe, THE TIME MY GOD APPOINTS IS BEST. It was her time to travel from Time to Eternity and we cannot question the Almighty.
We only ask that you continue to join us to pray for her beautiful soul to rest in perfect peace. Amen.
By her Children & Family.
Laying of floral Wreaths for Mrs. Sylvia Editha Jolliminah Blyden, her mother Mrs. Rosamund Ja-Okeh Cecilia Marsh and her grandmother, Mrs. Ella Editha Nicol; all of blessed memory in Time and now resting in Eternity. The permanent Headstone for Mrs. S.E.J. Blyden will be installed later in the year on its arrival from overseas.
May their souls continue to Rest in Perfect Peace. Amen