Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas In Jamaica

Christmas in Jamaica is a mix of non stop parties, Jonkonnu, Grand Market, Christmas carols always sung to a reggae beat . . . and what's known as the Christmas Breeze

During the holiday season you will find a party just about everywhere throughout the island. It's also a time for families to gather for a large traditional Christmas dinner, exchange gifts, attend church, head out to the beach - and attend another party!   

Island tradition states that when Santa makes his visit, he shrinks in size in order to squeeze through the keyhole. Most of the children see Santa at special events and shopping centers - and of course Santa and his elves are known to show up on the beach. 

Jamaicans say the weather starts getting "crisp" around November, and a cool breeze starts to blow throughout the island. 

The average temperature in December is 82 degrees, and drops about 10 degrees in the evenings. This is when the tourist high season gets underway, and tourists find the weather quite comfortable. 


Christmas carols are always sung to a reggae beat, and songs can be heard on speakers throughout the island. Caroling is a popular tradition, and Christmas carols such as Silent Night take on a lively reggae beat. 

Most Jamaican reggae artists are home for Christmas, and concerts feature popular dance-hall stars like Shabba Ranks, Black Uhuru, Robby Shakespeare, Shaggy, Melody Makers, and Sly Dunbar.   

Grand Market 

The Grand Market is like a community fair with food, crafts, music, street dancing and the place to purchase food for Christmas. 

This old tradition is held in the capital city Kingston, and other parishes around the island. The market vendors sell all kinds of sweets including cakes, candy, along with balloons and small toys. 

Jonkonnu Celebration

Called Junkanoo, Jonkonnu (or John Canoe) - This traditional Christmas celebration has been part of Jamaican culture for hundreds of years. 

The Jonkonnu revelers parade through the streets in colorful masquerade costumes. The traditional characters wear white mesh masks, and go by the names of the horned cow head, policeman, horse head, wild Indian, devil, belly-woman, and pitchy-patchy.

The origin is believed to originated from the Gold Coast of Africa, and in the past the characters would scare the children as they roamed in the countryside soliciting money as they beat drums, and played the flutes and tambourine. Today Jonkonnu is usually performed on stage, and remains an intricate part of the Jamaican culture.

National Pantomime 
The National Pantomime takes place on Boxing Day (day after Christmas) in the capital of Kingston. Sting, the infamous dance-hall stage show takes place on Boxing Day night. 

Jamaican churches are decorated with bright lights, fresh picked poinsettias, Christmas trees, and the traditional nativity scene. During the month of December there are numerous concerts and Christmas plays. 

Midnight mass on Christmas Eve is observed by the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches, and locals also attend early dawn services on Christmas Day. 

Traditional Christmas Food
Christmas Day breakfast favorites are ackee and saltfish, breadfruit, fried plantains, and boiled bananas with fried dumplin. 

Dinner is a big feast with a number of meat dishes such as stew chicken, curry goat, jerk pork, roasted ham, stewed oxtail. and fried fish with rice. 

Throughout the year rice and red beans are served, but at Christmas rice and gungo peas are the specialty as the peas ripen in December. Other favorites include roasted potatoes/vegetables, potato salad, and cole slaw. 

For desert the traditional Black Christmas Cake soaked with wine and rum is always present, along with Christmas pudding made with raisins, fruit, and rum. 

Sorrel is the favorite drink of the season, and is spiced with cinnamon, cloves, ginger, sugar, orange peel, rum, and is usually served on the rocks. Sorrel with carrot juice is another favorite mix. 

Happy Holidays & Safe Travels

Related Posts:

Christmas In The Cayman Islands
Christmas In Barbados
Christmas In The Bahamas
Christmas In Aruba
Christmas In Antigua/Barbuda
Christmas In Anguilla
Christmas In The Caribbean

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