Christmas in the Caribbean: What to know of Caribbean Christmas
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Gatherings at a Caribbean Christmas
While in 2020 everything is different, generally, Christmas in the Caribbean is the holiday season that brings families and friends living abroad and home together; making it a little more festive and joyful. It is one of the most embracing times where people come together. Escaping to the Caribbean for Christmas and swapping snow for sun, sand, and tropical drinks is always a good idea. In December the weather is normally dry, with that special Christmas Breeze locals wait for all year.
What would a Caribbean Christmas be without food?
One of the highlights of Christmas is the food, family gatherings with music playing a key role in the celebrations. We all look forward to those baked hams, Mama’s favorite fruit cake, stew beef, sorrel juice made with a hint of ginger and rum, lots of alcohol. The season is normally a festive one where Christmas Holidays are celebrated through shopping, food and playing lots of carols. Shopping has become a big thing or I should say a major part of the activities.
Decorating Christmas Trees
The decorating of Christmas trees is a fairly recent tradition adopted from North America that has been popular in our region. Many persons decorate their homes with lights and endless holiday mementos picking the mood for the festivities. Santa Claus is the star boy above all décor, he also plays with the kids and gives them toys. All the kids look out for Santa yearly!!
On Christmas Eve stores go beyond their opening time to accommodate all this late shopping while they entertain their customers with some Christmas carols and local music.
Some countries have house to house from morning to night, dancers and drummers who dress up in scary costumes and parade through villages. Some countries perform dances from their origins in Africa.
Caribbean Christmas Food
As mentioned, food is a very important part of Caribbean Christmas celebrations and around that time of year families usually gather for huge reunion meals. Also, it’s a time of year when you meet your fifth cousin and your eighth cousin, more or less all your distant relatives. Sure, unfortunately, 2020 is not the same.
Some Caribbean countries slaughter goats, pigs, and cows for Christmas. A Christmas dinner is also extinct. The preferred dessert around Christmas is black cake or simply fruitcake. The cake is normally rich with fruits soaked in rum and or wine.
Turkey also often is the center of attention, stuffed with seasoned breadcrumbs, though many people prefer a minced beef stuffing to make it a little richer. Ham is a must, and even people who do not eat pork will tolerate it on their table and offer it to ham-hungry guests. Chicken and roast beef are complemented by pastelles, vegetables, macaroni pie, potato, and other salads.
Caribbean Christmas Settings
The Christmas setting is important, so the house must be cleaned thoroughly, the tree put up and decorated in good time, and Christmas greeting cards hung up or collected in a prominent place. Houses are painted, even if only on the outside, and new curtains, furnishings, and appliances are added, as far as the pocket will allow (though Christmas is a time when people far outdo their resources). The season ends with the massive parties of Old Year’s night, followed by the exhausting somnolence of New Year’s Day.
Differences in Caribbean Christmas
Most of the islands celebrate Christmas in a similar way these days, but with their own favorite dishes and customs. In Barbados, for example, along with the turkey and ham, the specialty is jug-jug, a dish made with ground meats, guinea corn, and pigeon (gungo) peas. This may have originated with nostalgic Scottish settlers who needed a tropical substitute for haggis.
These Caribbean people never forget to give thanks to the Most High for everything. They attend church and most times the churches are filled to capacity. Caroling takes place mainly in the rural areas in most islands where residents go around the community to wake their neighbors with the serenade of traditional Christmas songs and the drums, the shakers the famous horn blowing.
Caribbean Hospitality is part of the Caribbean Culture
No matter where in the Caribbean you roam, West Indians are warm, friendly people and generally welcome visitors with open arms to join the celebrations, or even to dine with them for a holiday meal.
I hope, you enjoy our hospitality, found here on CaribbeanTL.com!