Christmas in Jamaica

Christmas is a very special time in Jamaica and like a lot of other countries, radio stations play carols all through the Christmas period.

Lots of people paint their houses and hang new curtains and decorations for Christmas. Most families spend Christmas Day at home with friends and family members.

In Jamaica, Christmas Eve is also called 'Grand Market' and is a really exciting time, especially for children. In every town and city in the country there is a cross between a festival and a market. During the day, people go shopping for Christmas foods, sweets and toys, etc. You might also buy some new clothes ready for the celebrations in the evening. (But you don't want to spend all your money during the day as there were lots of great things to buy in the evening as well!)

Around 6.00pm the evening part of Grand Market starts and it lasts until the morning! Everyone comes out on their new or best clothes, including children, to celebrate and party all night. All the streets, shops and many houses are decorated with lights. There are normally street vendors selling food like jerk chicken, boiled corn, and sweets like candy canes and sugarcane.

Following the Grand Market, some people will go to a Midnight Mass Church Service and others will party all night. Many people will also go to a Church Service on Christmas Day morning before the end of Grand Market.

The Christmas day meal is usually prepared on Christmas Eve. The traditional Jamaican Christmas meal include fresh fruits, sorrel and rum punch and meat. The Christmas Day breakfast includes ackee and saltfish, breadfruit, fried plantains, boiled bananas, freshly squeezed fruit juice and tea. Dinner is usually served in the late afternoon and this may include chicken, curry goat, stewed oxtail, rice and peas.

Jamaican red wine and rum fruitcake is traditional and is eaten in most homes. The fruits in the cake are soaked in red wine and white rum for months before Christmas. (I have some friends who come from Jamaica and Jamaican Christmas Cake is really nice!)

Thank you to Lola Adegoke for her help in giving me information on Christmas in Jamaica!