Culture , Event , Food & Drink
Crissmiss in the Caribbean: Celebrate the Holidays Island-Style
A patois spelling and palm trees aren’t the only things that make Christmas in the Caribbean special. From food and drink to traditions and tropical décor, the holidays here on the islands have their own unique flare. Trade the snow for sand, pour yourself a rum, and learn what makes this festive season so much more fun in the sun.
HAVE A CUP OF CHEER!
No matter where you go in the Caribbean this holiday season, libations will be flowing. Sharing a moment with friends and family over a glass of Sorrel Drink is a Christmas tradition. Made from steeped hibiscus flowers, spices, orange peel and rum, this refreshing take on mulled wine is a Jamaican favorite. Trinidadians and Tobagonian on the other hand, prefer to cheers over a glass of Ponche de Crème which is version of egg nog. It is enjoyed with friends over fruitcake and pastelles. In Jamaica, a version of this is called Egg Punch and is made with Guinness Stout.
IT’S THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR…
Christmas here isn’t just one day, it’s weeks of fun-filled events. Across the Caribbean, brilliant lights, street performances, beach parties, and lengthy visits with friends and family all make this season exciting. In the Bahamas, and Turks and Caicos, the day following Christmas is cause for more celebration with Junkanoo and Maskanoo parties that include street dancing, parades, traditional foods, colorful costumes, and masks.
CHESNUTS ROASTING ON AN OPEN FIRE…
You might not find chestnuts, but the intoxicating smell of roasted suckling pig is definitely on the menu. Tasty pork dishes are the centerpiece of many Caribbean Christmas feasts. Warm weather and large family gatherings make a spit-roasted BBQ the perfect meal, but each island has its own way to enjoy Christmas ham. In Jamaica, glazed baked ham is the way to go, while in Barbados, jug jug—a pork-a-fied version of Scottish Haggis—is a treasured delicacy.
NOW GIVE US SOME FIGGY PUDDING!
True to regional customs, the best things in life come soaked in rum—like Black Cake. A decadent spin on the ubiquitous holiday fruitcake, Black Cake involves rum-marinated dried fruit, caramelized demerara sugar, and a few more splashes of aged rum. Jamaicans, Bermudians, Vincentians and more, all look forward to this tasty treat that follows each Christmas meal.
DO YOU HEAR WHAT I HEAR?
Music is at the center of the Holiday spirit throughout the Islands. In Jamaica, traditional carols get a makeover with a soulful reggae beat, while Trinidadian Parang carols incorporate indigenous rhythms and Spanish influences. From calypso to jazz, music plays on every street corner. On the Cayman Islands, “singing loud for all to hear” is the general rule this time of year. An annual Christmas Carol Concert, performances by the Cayman National Choir, and beachside sing-alongs are a few of the musical events that take place between November and January.
DECK THE HALLS…
Frosty snow may replace sparkling sugar sands, but there’s no shortage of festive decoration here in the Caribbean. Lights twinkle from port to port, wrapped around tall palms and adorning the façades of pastel buildings. In Jamaica, the warm December weather invites indoor décor to spill outdoors, with ornaments, tinsel, and garland bedecking verandas. For Barbadians, a holiday drive is the perfect way to take in the different Christmas scenes depicted throughout Bridgetown, while on the Cayman Islands locals tour grand and historic homes to see their architecture in all their festive glory.
CITY SIDEWALKS, BUSY SIDEWALKS…
The holidays in the Caribbean bring the appearance of Christmas Markets on each island, offering the perfect place to pick up stocking stuffers, seasonal sweets, decorations, and all the supplies needed for a Christmas feast. In Jamaica the Grand Market is a main event that takes place on Christmas Eve. In communities across the country, streets close to allow children to visit the toy stalls, get their faces painted, and find Santa to share their Christmas wish list one last time.
WHAT ARE YOU DOING NEW YEAR’S…
Like Christmas, New Year’s in the Caribbean is an event to see. Known as Old Year’s Night in the Turks and Caicos, this holiday includes late-night church services, tolling bells, and midnight fireworks. On Grand Cayman, the vibe and activities are much the same, with revelers taking to the restaurants and resorts around Seven Mile Beach for bonfire parties, dinners, black tie events, live music, and fireworks. Wherever you choose to go, rest assured there’ll be parties, merriment, and contagious celebration.
No matter where you are this holiday season, Margaritaville Caribbean would like to wish you a Happy Holidays and a fantastic New Year’s from our sunny shores to yours.