Christmas in Trinidad and Tobago
Christmas is a very social time in Trinidad and Tobago with most people having parties. Both children and adults go from house to house between neighbors and relatives for food and drink.
The radio stations play Trinidadian Christmas carols and songs as well as traditional and contemporary carols from the USA.
A special Trinidadian music, Parang, is also played. Parang is an upbeat Venezuela-Trinidad hybrid music normally sung in Spanish. Now there's also 'soca parang' where songs are sung in English. In the evenings around Christmas, many people like to be 'Parranderos' and go from house to house singing Christmas songs. Lots of different instruments are used in Parang including guitars and cuatros (a small four stringed guitar), violins, maracas (called chac-chacs) and (two wooden blocks which are known as toc-toc). If you've been good at singing, you'll hopefully be given some food and drink.
Most people paint and make repairs to their houses and hang new curtains and decorations (especially lights) for Christmas. Often, this is the time that most people buy new electrical appliances and furniture. Most families spend Christmas Day at home with friends and family members.
The Christmas day meal is usually prepared throughout mid-December, and into the new year! The traditional Trinibagonian Christmas meal include apples and grapes, sorrel, ponche-de-creme (a version of egg nog), ham, turkey, homemade bread, ginger beer, pastelles (a version of tamales) and local wine.
Trinidadian Christmas fruitcake is traditional and is eaten in most homes. The fruits (such as raisins and sultanas) in the cake are usually soaked in cherry wine, sherry and rum for several months before Christmas!
New Year's Eve is known as 'Ole year's night' in Trinidad, and people love to let off fireworks to celebrate the coming of the new year!