Friday, December 24, 2010

Does Jamaica celebrate Christmas?

The short answer is YES!  Christmas in Jamaica, even though not much different from around the world, has it own flavor based on the many cultures that make up the island.  Lots of people paint their houses and hang new curtains and decorations for Christmas then most families spend Christmas Day at home with friends and family members.  However, Rastafarians celebrate Christmas on January 7th as opposed to the Christian celebration on December 25th.  Whilst Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus, Rastas celebrate his life and works.  

One of the more telling signs of Christmas in Jamaica is the food. Mixed fruits, which are marinated in wine for months, are now used to bake the ever-popular Christmas Fruit cake.  The Christmas Drink of Jamaica is the delicious Sorrel (made from sorrel sepal - a meadow plant, cinnamons, cloves, sugar, orange peel and a little white rum) can be found everywhere. This is normally served over ice.

 And even tho Jamaica is an island that has never seen snow or have houses that boast chimneys, Santa Clause and his gifts are very much a part of their traditions as it is in many of the nations around the world.  In some rural areas on the island, Santa would ride a cart and a donkey!

Native Jamaicans will tell you why Christmas in back home is better...
  • Certain flowers will bloom and there is a festive mood in the air that cannot be found anywhere else.
  • Gate posts, rocks lining a driveway and tree trunks are given a coat of whitewash paint.
  • Even the music is unique. It is a joy to listen to carols being played with a tropical beat.
  • A dip in the warm blue waters of the Caribbean on Xmas day is the perfect way to welcome Santa.
  • Dancing on the white sand beaches listening to a reggae version of Jingle Bells is the best.
  • You decorate palm trees instead of X-Mas trees.
  • You can have fresh fish or chicken cooked instead of the usual frozen turkey from Walmart!

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