Christmas In Jamaica
Christmas is a family holiday but there are times we just want to take the family somewhere other than with relatives. Many of us spend Christmas alone, cuddled up around the fire with our dog or cat, sipping eggnog and listening to carols. Why spend your holiday locked in your apartment during one of the coldest months of the year? You can choose to spend have Christmas in Jamaica.
Jamaica will be warm but not as warm as summer, there will be cool evenings where you do not need fan or air conditioners either. The temperature around that time of year is ideal. I therefore issue this invitation to you to come to Jamaica for a Christmas vacation.
Jamaica is an island in the Caribbean sea south of Florida. With population of approximately three million. Our people are friendly and welcoming. During the month of December there is an atmosphere of celebration and festivities. People get excited even if the economic conditions are at a low, we still celebrate Christmas in style.
Come to St. Thomas, Jamaica and I will treat you to a wonderful Christmas!
St. Thomas is a Parish located in the eastern part of the island and sees an annual rainfall of 170mm. St. Thomas is a lush green parish that is cool and serene. The main capital town of St. Thomas is Morant Bay. As at December 2009 the population count was 94,471. A parish where the major industry is farming of cash crops. Cash crops are those produce that yield in a short period of time, between 3 - 6 months.
The parish consists of three canaries, a vast Banana Plantation belonging to the Jamaica Producers Group, Cane Plantations and Coffee farms. One of the largest dairy farms in Jamaica, Serge Island Dairies, is also situated in the parish.
Bath Fountain, a natural mineral spring erupting from the earth, located in the district called Bath is our major tourist attraction. Many people have experienced healing by bathing in the warm mineral spring. Some people drink the water from the spring to relieve digestive and other ailments.
We have quite a few beaches where you can enjoy the sun. Accommodation is by way of small hotels, villas and guest houses. Transportation is by way taxi and bus.
Other attraction include a visit to the old Copra mill, the Old Sugar Estate in Duckenfield and a hike up the Blue Mountain trail, but probably the most important attraction is the statue of one of our National Heroes Paul Bogle. His monument stands tall in the square of Morant Bay. You may also wish to visit the home district of the hero in Stony Gut.
Our traditional Christmas dinner
Christmas dinner is always an elaborate affair in Jamaica. It might not be much different from other traditions except for one thing - the sorrel drink. Below is a list of items found on the Jamaican dinner table at Christmas give and take an item or two.
- Roast Pork leg or roast pork
- Roast beef
- Curried goat (for family reunions)
- Goat soup (for large gatherings)
- Rice and peas (gongo/pigeon peas)
- Rice and Peas (red peas/kidney beans)
- Potato salad
- Pasta salad (rarely)
- Macaroni and cheese (the real oven baked stuff)
- Green salad
- Christmas Cake or pudding
- The one and only sorrel drink
- Candied potatoes
No matter what is on the table at Christmas there is one thing that no household is ever without and that is the sorrel drink. Many homes might just be able to afford one meat but the rice and peas is a must. As a matter of fact the Jamaican style rice and peas is a Sunday tradition. The gongo/pigeon peas replaces the kidney beans at Christmas for the household that can get a hold of the peas which yields only once per year.
What the Jamaican Christmas day schedule is like
Christmas morning is usually quite an early start. The food preparation starts from the evening before and many a housewife or cook gets little or no sleep at all on Christmas Eve.
Christmas Church service begins at 5 AM so many will have awaken at 4. The family will gather at about 9 AM for breakfast and then it's off to the kitchen to finish making dinner. The Ham would have been prepared the night before. The peas would have been precooked in some cases to save time. But the rice and peas, chicken and salads will need to be prepared before 2 PM.
A Christmas Dinner is usually like having a reunion with friends invited. Not only will there be sorrel but beer, wine and rum also. Music will be played and everyone eats and have seconds. In most instances the departing visitor will get a plate to take home with them.
This atmosphere will extend to the hotels and guest houses where Jamaican staff members who are unable to go home due to their duties will have to spend the holidays. Guests are treated like family and the festivities are the same as if they were home. Hotel food is not much different from home cooking at this time because every home makes their food the best there is.
The advantages spending Christmas in Jamaica
Okay, now that I have convinced you that you will still get fed a feast here in St.Thomas, Jamaica, I will proceed to tell you of the other advantages of spending the Christmas holidays here.
- The food is next to none and I guarantee you wont go hungry. Many hotels and guest house have an all inclusive deal where you eat all you want. Many times the Christmas dinner is complimentary too, so even if you usually pay for the meals separately, Christmas day might be different (check with your hotel first about what packages they offer)
- Beaches are not very crowded on Christmas day so you will feel comfortable. Enjoy the sun and get a tan. Don't worry about the winter and the cold.
- Relax and see the sights. Travel to other parishes if you like. Go on an excursion.
- The river is an alternative to the beach. Go swim in the river instead, still get a tan and relax, enjoy the warmth of the sun.
- Your vacation won't be much different from a summer vacation because it's always Summer here in Jamaica.