The annual Children Christmas Cake Carol Competition, or C5 as it is also known, a competition that has grown into a mega event in Mokokchung Town, has just completed its XXXIV year with the same zeal and energy with which it began in 1989. But why is this competition so successful? Is it all due to small children and cakes? To some extent, certainly, but as the saying goes, there is always more than meets the eye.
What is the strength of C5?
Tongpoklong, President of the MTBA Youth Department, stated that while the main organizers of C5 are the MTBA Youth Department and MTBA, and though it is thought to be a children’s show, he believes that the entire town of Mokokchung gets involved in the event, turning it into a mega event for all of Mokokchung’s residents.
“The children, the parents, the youth department, all of them get involved in making this C5 a success, and so the reason for C5 success is because of the engagement of the entire community, and all because of God’s love and help,” he explained.
Takusunep, convenor of the Arkong Youth Fellowship and a C5 committee member of Tongdentsuyong Youth Fellowship shared their thoughts on how C5 strength comes in strong coordination between parents, teachers, children, and church.
“I personally feel that it’s a community-driven event with the Church working incredibly hard,” Takusunep said.
There is also a general consensus that parents are more enthusiastic about C5. Many have said, parents contribute with cash and kind and encourage their children to put their best foot forward, while youth leaders who teach the children were once competitors themselves and thus, teach them with much passion and determination to win for their fellowship.
“I would love that in this modern world of technology where children now wish to sit in their own room with mobile phones, we continue this practice so that we give them a new society through this.”
“I also hope that in the future we can put more excitement on our performance and perhaps take it to a bigger platform, even area-wise,” said the Tongdentsüyong Youth Fellowship member.
What has been their experience like in C5 this year?
“It was a little tight this year because academic examinations ended a little later than normal, which brought in some challenges, but we ended up having a pleasant experience because of the good collaboration between parents, teachers, and children,” said the Tongdentsuyong member.
Meanwhile, Takusunep talked about how spending more time with the kids reminded him of his “innocence” as a child.
The year’s newcomer in the competition, United Christian Fellowship (UCF), had the most to say about their C5 experience.
According to Moasenla, Vice President of the UCF Youth Fellowship, who expressed her gratitude for allowing them to compete, the conditions for the minimum number of children for their fellowship were reduced to 30.
“They stated 30, so our fellowship decided to put up at least 60 children,” she joked. “In that mindset, we went recruiting children who were not part of any fellowship.”
“We started from the shops in the new market and proceeded all the way to the police point,” she added.
“It was such a delightful experience because when we reached out to those children, they had no concept of what C5 was despite knowing it is being held every year. As a result, when we reached out to them, they were overjoyed and exceedingly accommodating. We even had donations and sponsors for uniforms and refreshments, and it was just an incredibly amazing event,” she said with delight at the level of inclusivity they were able to achieve.
According to her, the children of different faiths, who were primarily children from other states dwelling in Mokokchung, became a part of their fellowship and are now looking forward to participating the following year.
“This year’s experience has made me believe that C5 can be a mission in itself. Yes, the competition is there but if we put aside the competition for once, this can be a very meaningful mission.
And I hope that in the coming days, we take C5 to such a direction by embracing children of every faith,” she concluded.
Challenges and Suggestions
Speaking about his recent C5 experience, Tongpoklong stated that having to complete C5 preparation in one day was his and his team’s toughest challenge, along with the dread of disappointing the parents and children’s expectations.
According to him, since C5 was returning to town after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, there was a lot of enthusiasm and expectation from the parents and children about C5, and thus the pressure to make sure no one was disappointed was a tremendous issue.
Furthermore, because the live screening of the World Cup final conflicted with the preparation of C5, the preparation for C5 was halted in understanding which left them with only one day to complete all of the preparation, which he described as his greatest difficulty.
As the president of the MTBA Youth Department and a citizen of Mokokchung Town, he expressed his wish for things to improve and urged the residents of Mokokchung to kindly leave the space designated for the kid-participants free in the future.
He also believes that C5 will go more smoothly if people adhere to the traffic advisory issued for that particular day and do not enter the Police Point during the event.
Temjenlemba, a member of the organizing committee, expressed similar sentiments, stating that keeping traffic under control so as not to cause trouble was a huge difficulty.
“We also had situations where certain people under the influence of alcohol and other intoxicating substances caused disorder in the nooks and corners of the venue, causing certain discomfort to the children who ended up needing medical attention,” he continued.
However, he stated that although it was exhausting, busy, and chaotic prior to the occasion, everything came into place thanks to God’s grace.
But he believes that changing the location of the C5 event would be preferable.
“I understand that people want C5 to be held at Police Point because they believe that is what brings Christmas feelings, but now that the number of vehicles and people has increased, it would be better to change the location in the future, such as the multisport complex, where we will have no issues with traffic as well as for the little children and onlookers,” he said.
Takosunep shared similar comments and noted that seating options for both children and parents should be considered. He also urged working on punctuality, citing how tardiness has now become a norm in society.