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Christmas in Jamaica
The Fun & Exciting Jamaican Christmas Traditions

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jamaican christmas treeGrandma's 'Chrismus Tree'

Christmas in Jamaica is enviably different! OK, I admit, yes we engage in most of what the western world does but it's sorta sweeter here :-) keep reading and you'll understand what I mean.

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christmas lights in jamaica

The Carols

The radio stations start playing carols quite early, sometimes as early as in October!

We play all the popular carols that you'll probably associate with the western cultures.

  • Silent Night
  • Away in A Manager
  • The First Noel
  • Holy Night
  • name them

But remember, Jamaica is the home of reggae music, so you bet; we also do them -Christmas reggae style!

New!  Read about Jamaica's Christmas Traditions & this Chrismus dung a yard poem- in Jamaican dialect!

Carol Services, Concerts & Parties

jamaican christmas carol service

Christmas concerts are very popular leading up to the day, and they are in every area of public domain.

And I don't mean only the carol services that are usually held at the traditional christian churches. I mean real concerts!

They are in the schools, in the community centers, the workplaces, the squares, and even some of the churches that once denounce the celebrations decades ago.

The parties are never ending!

Honestly though, that is my main problem with that time of the year- I tend to spend all my money way before the actual day!

And if all the concerts and parties were not enough, there are the Christmas Eve Balls and final parties the night before. Here the merriment continues until daylight.

Traditionally, families go to the town areas and the cities on Christmas Eve-for nothing more than the lights and the thrill!

The traditional 'JohnKonnu"- An African inherited celebration brought by our ancestors, is not too popular in the city areas these days, but it too is quite exciting when held.

The Decorations

christmas in jamaicaDecorations At Fairview, Montego Bay, Jamaica

The decorations start unusually early as well! Houses are painted and 'pepper lights', i.e. Christmas Lights as we call them ,- goes up, even on trees!

jamaican_christmas_houseMandeville, Jamaica: Beautifully Christmas decorated Jamaican home

But wait until Christmas morning!

You will see the most elaborate ornamentation! The newest and best curtains, table cloth, sheet sets, etc. are on display!

The Food

Jamaican Christmas Dinner| Backyard Family DinnerJamaican Family Christmas Dinner| Backyard Family Dinner

But perhaps the most telling part of Christmas in Jamaica is the food!

Despite the relative poverty experience by many, everyone seeks to present the most elaborate, expensive and appetizing dishes on the table on Christmas Day.

Curried Goat, Pork, Chicken, Oxtail, all served with Rice and Gungo Peas forms the entree!

Some of the more affluent families do include ham and imported turkey. And there is also the sorrel and Jamaican Christmas Cake to top that off.

Both, however, requires special care to be done in time for Christmas.  For the Christmas cakefruits are soaked in red wine and white rum for months before Christmas! Rum is also an integral part of the sorrel punch preparation.

Charity Initiatives

retirement christmas charity treat

Between the fun, food and frolic though, we never leave out the charity. Both individuals and corporations do share the Christmas spirit by giving.

My community club, the Retirement Sports and Social Club, sponsors an annual Children's Treat too. Many public and private sector companies donate freely to this cause at this time of the year.

By the way, I included a few of those Christmas treat pictures from a few years ago on my main pictures page.

Family Reunions

christmas family reunion in jamaicaS'Ida Christmas family reunion in Jamaica

My favourite part of Christmas in Jamaica though is the family togetherness.

The actual day is spent at home-usually at the family home with friends and families.

I can't wait for the family reunions at that time!

My uncle, Tony, cherishes this time of the year. We both sort of assume the lead roles in the annual preparations.

And it not always at the family home. Sometimes we all go out. One year we chartered a bus and went to 'Little Ochie'. The food was awesome and we had the best of the best - and lots of it :-)

My Nephew in the Bus Family Eating
My Daughter in the Bus Family Eating
Family Eating

So you see, we have no snow nor chimney, but Christmas in Jamaica, while reflective - is a scintillating experience  here in Jamaica land we love!

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A patriotic Jamaican who adores his culture, Wellesley has been using this medium to share what he calls 'the uniqueness of Jamaica with the world' since April 2007.  

To date, he serves over 9,300 unique readers / viewers per day.

His efforts have earned him featured positions in local publications, including the Jamaica Gleaner's Hospitality Jamaica, Carlong Publishers, as well as recognition from numerous prestigious international agencies and universities.

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