Does Jamaica Have Christmas?

Does Jamaica Have Christmas? || Answered by Isreal, Associate Writer

Yes we do, and it is the most special time of the year. I believe that there is no Christmas like a Jamaican Christmas! We have the best food! Ask about the sorrel and the fruit cake!

We also have large family get-together and fun shopping as part essentials to a Jamaican Christmas.

From early December in some parts of Jamaica, the weather starts to feel…like a chill. This is from the winds (trade winds) blowing from North America (United States and Canada) to Jamaica. This means the usual summer heat is gone from the island and a cool breeze as we Jamaicans say, takes it place. December is so different from July or August. This marks the start of Christmas and sets the tone, aka 'climate' for all the fulljoyment to come.

We have the big grand market on Christmas eve. Yes, that name of our Christmas Eve shopping in Jamaica. This is not just about having money to buy gifts or clothes but more about being out on the night of Christmas Eve!

When my parents were children grand market was the big thing’ back then I heard. Now the American flavour of shopping is taken hold but none the less, the pomp and pride of the grand market is still present in the country, especially in the rural parts of Jamaica (Trelawny and Westmoreland).

Back to the food though! One of the most memorable part of a Jamaican Christmas is the dinner. Ham is slowly taking its place, along with curried goat, bake chicken etc, on the Jamaican table with guango rice and peas.

For dessert, we have the traditional Jamaican fruit cake and authentic sorrel drink to bring the celebration to a close in the evening.

jamaican_christmas_cake_by_nateisha_gayle_dec_25_18
Jamaican Fruit Cake, baked by my sister, Nateisha Gayle

Ohh! Let me not forget in the morning chocolate tea. This is not the commercial version but Jamaican chocolate from the pods of the cacao tree which is drawn in hot water with coconut milk.

This is served with fried breadfruit and ackee and salted fish for breakfast. So from morning till night, December 25th is a big day in Jamaica.

Here are some Christmas must-haves for a Jamaican Christmas dinner:
1. Guango rice and peas
2. Ham
3. Chicken (either baked or fried)
4. Curried goat
5. Fruit cake
6. Sorrel drink
7. Salad (sliced tomato)
8. Lots of family to play dominoes and other games for fun.
9. Christmas light decorations in the night

By the way, if you are want to make your own Jamaican style sorrel drink, here is a simple recipe.

Ingredients


• 1 pound sorrel
• 2 ounces ginger (not too harsh if children will be having the drink)
• 2 quarts water
• Sugar
• rum (optional)
• 8-12 pimento grains


Method


1. After washing sorrel soak for at least 4 hours in boiled water
2. After the sorrel has been drawn (left undisturbed in the hot water ) then add pimento grains
3. Then add sugar and rum to taste
4. Wallah..the good tasting sorrel drink

It goes well with this cake!

Merry Christmas!


References
Clarke, Carmon. n.d. Pinterest taken from https://www.pinterest.com/pin/243687029813664639

Loop News. 2018. 12 Must Haves at a Jamaican Christmas. Loop taken from http://www.loopjamaica.com/content/12-must-haves-jamaican-christmas-dinner

Mckinley, Ken. 2012. Christmas Winds. Ocean Navigator taken from http://www.oceannavigator.com/January-February-2012/Christmas-winds/

Murphy, Winsome. 2003. Jamaican Sorrel Drink Recipe taken from https://jamaicans.com/sorrel/

Smith, Marjorie. n.d. Jamaican Christmas Tree. Pinterest Taken from https://i.pinimg.com/originals/28/88/e2/2888e2c4766381cc48e5ebb75309c601.jpg

Taylor, Karen G. 2016. 18 Unforgettable Christmas Memories of My Jamaican Childhood taken from https://outandaboutportmore.wordpress.com/2016/12/25/of-my-jamaican-childhood/

The Jamaica Gleaner. 2010. One Little Big Christmas Tree…Or Maybe A Big One…. The Jamaica Daily Gleaner taken from http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20101208/lead/lead4.html

Woman&Home. 2016. Jamaican Christmas Cake Recipe taken from https://www.womanandhome.com/recipes/jamaican-christmas-cake/

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