Temperatures drop slightly when the "CrisMus breeze" hits in early December arrives, making the start of the season more enjoyable. Towns and cities create a festive atmosphere by decorating the streets and palm trees with colorful Christmas lights, known here as "pepper lights" Are known. Houses in affluent neighborhoods compete for the best light displays and even local cabs are decorated.
Christmas trees are everywhere; the plastic kind can dominate, but locally grown Blue Mountain pines are more elegant. Grown high in the lush mountains, they’re a softer, lighter alternative to Norwegian pine. It is also traditional to decorate the house at Christmas with bright red poinsettias. They are so popular that it may be necessary to order them months in advance.
Poinsettia | © Guilherme Cardoso / Flickr
The long tradition of the "Gran Market is one of the biggest days of the year for many Jamaicans – especially children. From Christmas Eve to Christmas morning, merchants gather to sell their wares in key locations throughout the country. The festivities go on through the night into the wee hours of Christmas morning, keeping visitors entertained. The best gran market in Jamaica is in Linstead, St. Catherine. It’s a shopper’s paradise, offering the chance to buy everything from last minute gifts and Christmas decorations to clothes and food. Many people visit just to enjoy the party atmosphere.
Shoppers downtown Kingston | © Caribbean Cables
John Canoe’s traditional masquerade party or Jonkanoo is one of the highlights of the "Gran Market". It involves people dressing up and wearing masks as they dance through the streets to accompany music. The Jonkanoo tradition came to Jamaica with slaves from Africa and was once popular throughout the island. Now it is more limited to the rural areas.
John Canoe Festival celebrants, Kingston, Jamaica | © WikiPedant / WikiCommons
Start Christmas Day with a traditional Jamaican breakfast of acki and saltfish, breadfruit and boiled bananas. Families usually attend church on Christmas Eve. Mass is an important aspect of Christmas for most Jamaicans, who celebrate their "Sunday feast" on this special day celebrate. Christmas mass is a joyous celebration with enthusiastic caroling and hand clapping. Steel drums and reggae versions of popular Christmas songs give the day a distinctively Caribbean feel.
mass choir, Emmanuel Apostolic Church | © Tekmepikcha
Christmas dinner is a big event where family and friends celebrate and party together. Roast turkey is notably absent from most Jamaican tables and is being replaced by curried goat, roast chicken and a very popular ham. Rice and peas get a Christmas twist, made with pigeon peas instead of red kidney beans. The meal is accompanied by the seasonal favorite, sorrel – usually with a generous helping of rum. The traditional dessert with rum-laden fruitcake ends the meal.
The party starts in Kingston on Boxing Day with the National Pantomime performance of the Upsies and de Downzies dem. The Little Theatre Movement, a Jamaican institution, held on 26. December 1941, and every year since then, the first panto. This Christmas show is a celebration of Jamaican culture, folklore and history.
Pantomime | © LTM Pantomime
The famous dancehall show, Sting (no relation to Sting of Police), also takes place on Boxing Day. For dancehall fans this is not to be sneezed at. The show usually starts at 8 p.m., but the real entertainment rarely starts before midnight. In short, December is a nonstop party season with all kinds of celebrations, from beach parties to big public sound system events and everything in between.
Author: Carl Brewer
Carl Brewer is a 56-year-old journalist. Internetaholic. Social media specialist. Beer Buff. Friendly communicator. Researcher. Extreme student. Organizer.