Culture

My unique experience of spending Christmas in Jamaica

I have, as a Canadian, had the unique experience of spending Christmas in Jamaica on several occaisions. My family and I stay just outside of Mandeville with my Auntie Vernice and Uncle Harvey. It’s nice and cool up there, high in the hills. One thing that stands out in a major way is the number of fire crackers that people set off. Boom Boom Boom. Almost every where you go it’s fire crackers. Downtown Mandeville is packed to the hilt with people on Christmas eve. Everybody dresses up in their finery and heads downtown to see and be seen. Music blares out from sound systems all around town. Traffic is at a stand-still as the roads are jammed to overflowing with people.
On Christmas eve and Christmas day there is alot of movement. People travel, often by foot to visit all of their neighbours as well. They go to sit and talk and to have a bite to eat and a little Christmas cheer. People also drop by to visit us so you can’t be out on the street all the while nor can you over-do the Christmas cheer aspect of things all in one sitting.

A visit to church is a must on Christmas eve and/or Christmas day. So you can see that time is at a premium. Something has to give. That something is usually sleep. Christmas is a travelling party coupled with time spent worshipping. One can always catch up on the zzzzzzzzzzz’s on Boxing day.

I also have fond memories of dancing in Auntie’s living room to some terrific ‘old hits’ on Christmas eve with friends and family. Gifts exchanged in the living room with Christmas music playing gently in the background is also a fond Christmas day memory. I look forward to doing all that and more again next year.

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