Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmas In The Cayman Islands

In the Cayman Islands Christmas is all about beaches parties, concerts, spectacular light displays, fireworks, and Santa arrives by boat or plane

Source: via Linda on Pinterest

Snow White Sand Yards 
One of the more interesting old island traditions is "backing sand" where locals start gathering sand months before Christmas, put the sand into even piles in their yards. 

On Christmas Eve morning the sand piles are swept across the yard to resemble snow. Since no one could walk on the sand until Christmas Day, a gravel pathway is made to get in and out of the house. The pathway is lined with conch shells to complete the snow white sand yard. 

Today many of the old island houses have White Sand Yards for the holidays, and there is competition for who has the whitest and most beautiful sand yard on Christmas morning.

The display of Christmas lights is a somewhat recent tradition in Cayman's, and get more extravagant each year with animated figures and intricate scenery. There is a competition with prizes in several different categories. 

Houses are also decorated with a tiny red flower found on the island which grows during December- often referred to as Christmas Blossom, Christmas Bush or Old Man Bitter Bush. 

Traditional Christmas Dinner
Everyone's favorite is Christmas Beef, Heavy Cakes and Sorrel

Christmas Beef - Local beef (grass fed and free from hormones and antibiotics) is seasoned and slow cooked until it has a rich brown crust, and served with yam or sweet potato, and green peas. Turtle is another favorite for Christmas dinner. 

The traditional rich brown Cassava (Heavy) Cake is made with cassava, light brown sugar, coconut mile, vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, butter and a dash of cayman sea salt. 

Other traditional recipes include baked Pearl Tapioca Pudding, and Cayman Peppermint Candy boiled with sugar, lime, and peppermint oil. 

Christmas Events
December kicks off with the Christmas Evening Market where locally produced fruits and vegetables, food, baked goods and arts/crafts are sold.

The Cayman Islands Singing Christmas Tree is a 25 foot tree with 5,000 lights. During the season many churches have annual Christmas music concerts, and it's an opportunity for the island children to recite Christmas poems.  

On December 10th the Cayman Parade of Lights is an annual display of boats of all sizes decorated with colored lights. There is a special appearance by Father Christmas, along with a craft market and the evening ends with a spectacular fireworks display of light and sound. 

The Christmas Bus Tour of Lights gives locals and visitors the opportunity to see the light displays in the capital George Town, and Bodden Town. 

During the weeks leading up to Christmas, families attend Christmas Moonlight & Movies for classic Christmas movies on the big screen. The traditional Pajama Party is held for children on December 23, and it's a night of milk, cookies and storytelling of  Twas the Night Before Christmas

On the day after Christmas the annual Boxing Day Dashing Thru the Sand Beach Run and Walk is held - 

Happy Holidays & Safe Travels

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