Caribbean Christmas Traditions
Updated: Jul 12, 2021
Contributor: Nadia Goodhart
Christmas is coming around the corner and just like weather changes, Caribbean families are starting their Christmas traditions. Up in a cupboard somewhere, a bottle of mixed fruits have been soaking in rum for the past year in preparation for the infamous black cake. Everyone has their own recipe, but we know one thing for sure, this fruit cake has been prepared in mamie’s kitchen for as long as we can remember.
Speaking of rum, all those bottles that never visited the bottle depot are being washed to be filled with creamy ponche de crème or as Trinis say, punch a cream. What is Christmas without a glass chilled with a few blocks of ice enjoyed with a friend or two?
Parang is in the air and the shak shaks are being shook. Every year you try your hand at Spanglish when you sing a couple of verses, octaves higher like Ms Daisy singing Sereno. You may also have on your Spotify playlist Scunter’s Ah want a piece of pork for de Christmas. Carollers have nothing on the paranging crowd. They may just eat and drink you out of house and home but the vibes will be nice and you will treasure those memories forever.
Let’s not forget about the ham. Aye ay aye neighbor bring out de ham, meh belly in meh hand. I have heard people swear by using cloves on the ham to give it that unique Caribbean flavor and don’t forget to wash it down with a glass of Sorrel or Gingerbeer.
Although it is harder to find banana leaves these days, pastelles are being prepared by the batches to give out to friends and family or to store in your freezer when Tabanca season comes rolling in. (LEARN HOW TO MAKE PASTELLES)
There are some things that will be ingrained in our childhood like cleaning and painting the house from top to bottom, putting up new curtains, watching the community football match and participating in Jonkonnu. We remember that Christmas was family time even if it was spent in Church Mass, the beach or singing your favorite song like Santa ketch up eena mango tree.
Thanks to contributors Sherol Leslie, Taneya Rogers, Greg Davis and Nadia Goodhart for sharing their traditions.