Christmas in Jamaica
CHRISTMAS IN JAMAICA
Christmas in Jamaica consists of communal worship in church, and families and relatives gathering for scrumptious food, warm greetings and many parties with friends. All activities are made more important by sharing presents, sweets or traditional desserts like Christmas pudding or cakes along with other treats like rum punch, eggnog, ham and sorrel. The Christmas celebration for Jamaicans is incomplete without many lights installed inside and outside their freshly washed and painted houses. The lights fitted around trimmed hedges and shiny fences illuminate the night like many twinkling stars.
The expectations rise in September by the end of November, the gentle wind of winters result in chilly mornings and mild evenings giving the hint of excitement to the holidays ahead. Stores are decorated and filled with fresh delights to allure buyers and Christmas songs and carols float on the wind. This is Jamaican Christmas!
The history of Jamaican Christmas celebration goes back to the 17th century to the period of slavery where the island was an Enlsigh colony. During that era, the plantation owners presented annual gifts to each of the slaves including meat and a piece of cloth. In honor of Christmas Eve, the work of the plantation was stopped until Boxing Day, December 26. A glass of wine made the holiday celebration even more special.
The Christmas Eve party on the plantation was anight-longcelebration that also included musical instruments, drumming and masqueraders. This all-night paty with singing and dancing gave birth to a new Jamaican Christmas tradition known as “Jonkunnu”.
The combination of British folk songs and African Masked Dances completes the Jonkunnu tradition. It is a prime road-side entertainment on Christmas Day in Jamaica.