Traditions are essential for humans to celebrate religious ceremonies, memorialize the memory of loved ones, and welcome new lives into the world. Easter is an important part of Jamaican life with strong ties to the island’s unique history and culture.
Jamaican traditions surrounding Easter are far different than those in the U.S. and isn’t limited to religious adherents. The celebrations provide a variety of fun-filled activities for everyone that rejoices in the season.
A tropical version of the hot cross bun popular in England is eaten with cheese during Easter in Jamaica. The Jamaican Easter buns ingredients include nutmeg and cinnamon, cloves, honey, raisins, and dried fruit. It’s a tradition with roots in Ancient Babylon.
The 40 days after Ash Wednesday comprises the Lenten period and represents the withdrawal and sacrifice of Christ. To emulate that, people traditionally abstain from meat on Friday and fish is eaten instead. They may also choose to abstain from alcohol.
Jamaican congregants often wear black to church services for mass on Good Friday. On Easter day, everyone brings out their white and most colorful clothing to celebrate the Resurrection.
Adults put an egg white in a glass of water on Holy Thursday night. By Good Friday, the individual will see their future based on the pattern formed by the egg white.
Physic nut tree (Jatropha)
Around the world, some believe that the crucifixion cross of Jesus was constructed from a nut tree. In Jamaica, it’s said that if the physic nut tree is cut open at noon on Good Friday, the tree’s sap oozes red representing the blood of Jesus.
The celebration is attended by celebrants throughout the island and also commemorates the end of slavery. Festival-goers enjoy music, parades, flower shows, sporting events, beach parties, and private gatherings for a unique celebration of life. The island is home to the Trelawney Yam Festival and International Kite Festival during Easter.