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What do Jamaicans do on Christmas Day?

Wellesley and family/ siblings having a backyard Christmas dinner last year

What do Jamaicans do on Christmas Day? || Answered By Aneisha Dobson, Associate Writer

Silver bells, silver bells
It’s Christmas time in the city
Ring-a-ling (ring-a-ling) hear them ring (ting-a-ling)
Soon it will be Christmas Day!

-Silver Bells

This popular Christmas carol is one of the many recited throughout the Christmas season in Jamaica and other parts of the world.

And just as catchy and rhythmic as this tune is, it also holds some reality when we take into consideration the time of year.

Without a doubt, Christmas Day is the most popular time on the Jamaican calendar. But, what really do we anticipate? What is particularly done on Christmas Day in Jamaica?

Gran’ Market

Although Gran’ Market actually starts on Christmas Eve, it usually runs over to the wee hours of Christmas Day. During this event, vendors occupy the streets of towns across Jamaica to sell their merchandise while locals, dressed in their newest clothes, swarm the city with excitement.

Christmas Breakfast

In typical Jamaican style we start off the day with a rather heavy breakfast. This usual includes: ackee and salt fish, boiled bananas, fried dumplings, roast breadfruit, fried plantation and tea!

Church Service

While shopping and cooking usually dominate the Christmas season, religion also holds an integral role. The Birth of Christ has an essential part in the Christmas celebration for the Christian fraternity.

As a result, many churches host services on Christmas Day, some still does 'choralling' in the community.


If I were to sum up a Jamaican Christmas Day in words, I’ll had to draft a never ending list of words...

Exciting, enthusing, merry, celebration, greetings, giving, gifts, holiday, happiness and joy are just a few.

But, a few more important words that describes Christmas in Jamaica are “family” and “togetherness”.

Christmas Day is staple time for family and friends to congregate and celebrate the festive season. In fact, family and friends abroad travel to Jamaica during this time of year to be together and have a good time.

Music, dancing, food and laughter is the order of the day, and may I just say it’s done in the usual Jamaica fashion.

Christmas Dinner

Let’s talk about food!
Another important feature of Christmas Day in Jamaica is the Christmas Dinner.

This is a crucial element that cannot be evicted!
No joke! lol. Christmas Day in Jamaica is synonymous with food, 'good food' and lots of it!

While meals may differ from family to family, there are certain dishes that remain constant.

Here are a few:

  • Honey-glazed ham with pineapples
  • Curried goat
  • Roast beef
  • Stewed pork
  • Fried fish
  • Fried chicken
  • Gungo peas and rice

Anything to drink?

Of course!

Sorrel drink is an essential beverage on the Jamaican Christmas menu.

Made from the Jamaican sorrel plant, this cold beverage is flavoured with ginger, sugar, rum and wine.

Another popular beverage is eggnog. This is usually served at breakfast.

And for dessert, we have the world famous Jamaican Christmas Fruit Cake!

The preparation for this particular dessert starts several months prior with fruits; such as prunes, cherries, raisins and currants; being soaked in wine.

All in all, Jamaicans pride Christmas Day as a very special event that represents love, unity and fellowship. Some of our fondest memories with friends and families occur during the Christmas season.

Be sure to read more on Christmas in Jamaica here.

Until next time…

P.S. See also: Jamaican Christmas Music.


Jamaica Information Service. (n.d.). Jamaican Christmas Customs . Retrieved from Jamaica Information Service:

Jamaican Observer. (2014, December 8). Christmas across the world. Retrieved from Jamaican Observer:

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