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What do Jamaicans eat during Easter?

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jamaican_easter_bun_wellesleyWhat Do Jamaicans Eat During Easter?

by Venesha Johnson | Associate Writer

Easter in Jamaica is one of my favourite times of the year, well, after the Christmas holidays, that is. What makes Easter special for us? Well, a huge part of these celebrations consists of foodโ€ฆlots of food. So, what do Jamaicans eat during Easter?

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Like Christmas, during Easter, we have our special foods that we eat in abundance. While Christmas is for cake and sorrel, Easter is all about the bun and cheese.

Bun and Cheese

The idea for this pastry came from the Hot Cross Bun, a popular easter pastry in Britain and other Commonwealth countries. But ours is noticeably different. Both pastries are made from spiced dough and dried fruits but the similarities end there.

The Hot Cross Bun is golden brown with a cross on the top made from sugar, flour and water. Ours is a delectable molasses or brown sugar-flavoured bun in the traditional rectangular shape for an Easter bun. You can enjoy the bun with any type of cheese, but Tastee Cheddar Cheese is the usual and perfect match.

While the Easter bun is perfect as is for me, if you are not a fan of raisins and dried fruit peels, you can opt for our round spice buns. These are a circular version of the Easter bun without the dried fruit and raisins. A huge plus with spice buns too, is that while Easter buns are confined to the Easter season, we have spice buns year-round and they are pretty easy to find as well.

Fish and Bun

This one counts as one of our weird food combinations. While I have never tried this combo myself, it is one of the most popularly eaten meals during the easter holidays. It doesn't matter the fish you choose to use, but I often see my family members have their bun with fried snapper or sprat. So, if you run out of cheese or are allergic to dairy, there's no need to miss out on the festivities. You can have your bun with your favourite fried fish.

More Fish

Year-round, poultry might be the go-to protein for Jamaicans. However, during Easter, seafood takes centre stage, more specifically, fish. Why? One of the main reasons is the Lenten period. During Lent many Jamaicans choose to โ€œgive upโ€ something, for most it is meat, making fish their go-to protein.

Locals typically refrain from cooking on Good Friday. To prepare for this, fish is cooked beforehand, sprat usually being the fish of choice. These small fish belong to the herring family.

After being thoroughly cleansed with water and vinegar, they are pre-seasoned with salt and pepper and then deep-fried. Take pleasure in twelve prawns served on Hardo Bread, ideally from the Captain's Bakery or National. To enhance the flavour, toast the bread, slather it with butter, tuck a few sprats into a slice, and then cool down with an ice-cold Red Stripe Beer.

While Sprat is only eaten fried, many other types of fish such as snapper and doctor fish are had. They are prepared in a variety of styles such as roasted, grilled/jerked or escovitched.



Did I mention above that we normally have bun and cheese for breakfast, lunch and dinner? That's right, during Easter many of us turn the pots down, leaving out only the frying pan to fry fish. On the rare occasion you find us preparing an actual breakfast it is usually our national dish, ackee and salt fish.

The bright yellow fruit known as ackee has a feel similar to butter. The fruit originated in West Africa and was introduced to Jamaica in the eighteenth century. Although it can be found in other Caribbean countries, it is a mainstay of Jamaican cuisine and is frequently made with salted cod, also known as saltfish, onion, tomato, and peppers.

The finest ways to enjoy ackee are with roasted breadfruit or Johnnycake/fried dumplings. The best thing about ackee and saltfish is you don't have to wait for Easter to have it, even when it's not in season you can buy the canned ones, so you can enjoy it right through the year.

Our go-to dishes for Easter may be a short list but not only have we been sticking to our tradition, the few items taste so good, there's no need to add anything else. What do you look forward to having the most during Easter? I know for me and many other Jamaicans, it's the bun and cheese.

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References & Sources For What do Jamaicans eat during Easter?

  1. Janeen (2021) 5 must-have foods for a real Jamaican easter, THE DRYLAND TOURIST. Available at: (Accessed: 01 April 2024).
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