Christmas in Jamaica

Jamaica is an island country situated in the Caribbean Sea, comprising the third-largest island of the Greater Antilles. The island containing the nation-states of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Jamaica is the fifth-largest island country in the Caribbean.

The Capital and largest city of this country is Kingston.

Christmas in Jamaica

Christmas Celebrations in Jamaica :

Christmas is a very special time in Jamaica and like a lot of other countries, radio stations play carols all through the Christmas period. The Christmas season in Jamaica is the most festive time of year, filled with non-stop celebrations, special treats, entertainment, parties, festivals, and happy gatherings of friends and family. Jamaican Christmas festivities reached their height in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries with feasts and processions featuring strolling singers and performers. In this century, the celebration came under more regulation so that performers had to be licensed. This has added to a general decline, although all the customs can still be found in various pasts of the island. The women were called “set-girls,” because they worked together in a set of a specific number. They danced to the accompaniment of gourd rattles, fifes, triangles, and tambourines.

Christmas in Jamaica

During Jonkanoo (or John Canoe), a traditional Christmas celebration, revelers parade through the streets dressed in colorful masquerade costumes. Traditionally, men wearing white-mesh masks play the characters, which include the horned cow head, policeman, horse head, wild Indian, devil, belly-woman, pitchy-patchy, and sometimes a bride and house head, which was an image of a great house carried by the reveler on his head.

The Grand Market is a community fair characterized by food, street dancing, crafts, and music. In the past, the weekend before Christmas and particularly on Christmas Eve, markets all over the island were set up with vendors selling small toys, firecrackers, balloons, and sweets of all kinds, including pinda (an African word for peanut) cakes, grater cakes, and peppermint sticks. Traditionally on Christmas Eve some markets were decorated with streamers, large accordion-style bells, and balloons. People were decked out in fancy clothes, including bright hats purchased upon entering the Grand Market. Everyone came to town for Grand Market and the celebrations lasted throughout the day and night.

Jamaicans celebrate by going to church, exchanging gifts with their families, and gathering for a large meal. Dinner on Christmas Day, the biggest feast for Jamaicans, includes chicken, oxtail, curry goat, roast ham, and rice and gungo peas. (Gungo peas, a Christmas specialty for Jamaica, usually ripen in December. Throughout the rest of the year cooks use red peas with the rice.) Jamaicans also prepare roast beef and/or pork as well. Another holiday specialty is Jamaican-style Christmas cake made of fruit soaked in rum. The drink of choice for Jamaicans during the Christmas season is sorrel. Made from dried sorrel (a meadow plant), cinnamon, cloves, ginger, sugar, orange peel, and rum, the beverage is usually served over ice.

Wishing all readers Merry Christmas 2019 & Happy New Year 2020 !!!