Jonkkanu Christmas Memories and downtown Christmas shopping

by Paula Roche Reilly
(Concord, CA, USA)

Re: What's Your Dream Jamaican Christmas feedback question

My memories were of a sunny warm day on Christmas Eve.

We were allowed to stay up till midnight first to go to Midnight Mass at the Cathedral and then going home to have sherry in tiny glasses with ham and rice and peas as a late supper and of course plantains, no dinner is complete without them.

We would all have a slice of plum pudding/fruitcake topped with a butter brandy sauce. Then it was off to decorating our imported pine Christmas tree with bubble lights and detergent whipped "snow".

Off to bed before Santa arrived with the gifts I believe from my mommy who was working on Wall Street in NY. My parents were divorced when I was born. One Christmas my daddy gave both my sister Judith Ann and I one beautiful teddy bear!!! Can you imagine? We did share it.

The next morning we were awakened with a full English breakfast and of course fresh ground Blue Mountain coffee. We were allowed to open our gifts and then off to the bath and all dressed up in patent leather black MaryJane's, white socks, beautiful ruffled dresses with ribbons in our hair and white gloves. Then it was a proper dinner with beautiful China and silver settings and a proper table cloth. We had more ham-imported, rice and peas, avocado, plantains, stringbeans plus roast beef, mashed potatoes, turkey or goose, salads and more.

Then we would have more pudding and of course sherry. It was off visiting on Christmas afternoon, everyone else had huge buffets loaded with food and tons of homemade desserts. All served their amazing plum pudding and everyone remarked on how we had grown.

We would set off fireworks in the back yard with our friends and end with sparklers when we heard the scary music of the dreaded and feared Jonkkanoo band. Wearing plaid rags and some wearing a real cow's head and/or horse's head. Banging on drums and dancing they would shout out threats such as if you don't give us money and rum or wine we will kill you children or hurt them.

I would lie down trembling under my bed and pray till they were gone. My mommy would give them all drinks and a wad of pounds and shillings and they would drum and dance away.

Whew!!! What a magical night.

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Jan 11, 2018
Response to question where?
by: Anonymous

This was in Kingston-St.Andrew in the 50's through the 60's. I left Jamaica for good in 1965. Paula

Dec 31, 2017
Good ole-time Christmas
by: Anonymous

So many true memories! plantains, plum pudding, decorating tree with whipped "snowflake" soap flakes into stiff snow. and food galore! Good ole time Christmas.

Dec 24, 2017

by: Anonymous

Where in Jamaica was this Paula? And When?
Sounded like a good life :-)

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