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What a Traditional Jamaican Christmas Looks Like | #Blogmas Day 5

Wednesday, December 5, 2018


Chestnuts roasting on an open fire is not something you'll see at a Traditional Jamaican Christmas -- there is no snow, there is no great light-fight and there certainly is no Santa Claus! A Traditional Jamaican Christmas is quite unique and features food, fun, family, and vibes! If you are an outsider looking in and want to know what a Traditional Jamaican Christmas looks like, keep reading!


Cleanliness is next to Godliness


This is a popular Jamaican saying that I've heard since I was a little girl and haven't quite figured out what it means but let's just say cleanliness is BIG in Jamaican culture. First off we say "Krismus or Chrismus" and when Krismus rolls around it's all about making the house look good and new. We buy new sheets, curtains, runners for our dressers, bathroom mats, kitchen towels and if the budget allows paint for the entire house (inside and out) so the place looks good for our invited guests and for the new year.


Soaking the Sorrel




Sorrel is a red bulbous plant that is sold in the market, select vendors and supermarket that if of a red color. It is then boiled in hot water and mixed (quite similarly to kool-aid) and sweetened with sugar, ginger, and Red Label Wine or your choice of wines or spirits. It is then served cold and goes with the Christmas Dinner. Most people will purchase the sorrel early in December and prepare it and allow it to sit similar to wine so it gets a rich flavor and is extra good by Christmas Day.

Christmas Cake



Christmas Cake for us in Jamaica is quite similar to the fruitcake where dried fruits, raisins and rum are all mixed together to create a tasty cake. As we love the flavor in Jamaica, we also add other ingredients like vanilla, rose water, cinnamon and other spices to make it extra tasty. This is served as a dessert and is usually also gifted to family and friends and businesses will also gift to their customers.


Christmas Dinner



The Jamaican Christmas Dinner is our Island version of the Thanksgiving Dinner where we have a variety of dishes that we share with friends and family. Instead of Turkey, Ham is the star of the show and it is usually baked or smoked and dressed with Pineapples and Cherries and topped with a homemade sauce. Along with Ham, there is also Chicken, Mutton, Beef, Fish, Potato Salad, Fresh, Vegetables (Carrot and Cabbage) Macaroni + Cheese, Rice and Peas and so much more! We tend to have more meat than side dishes which make for a hefty feast. We like to start with Christmas Dinner at our home then make our way to friends and family homes as each home have something different and a different way of preparing it. It is usually a really fun day that sometimes ends with a party in the night.



Christmas Music + Christmas Traffic + Grand Market



We loooooove us some Mariah Carey in Jamaica at Christmas time and every home, office and street corner will be blaring one of her tunes and people will randomly start singing in unison!

Another Traditional Jamaican Christmas marker is the increased traffic on the roads! This is because stores are open later and people are trying to get the best deals possible. It's also just nicer to get out on the road and be at the Mall or Plaza as we call it since the stores are open anyway. This traffic continues all the way to the Grand Market.


Grand Market in Jamaica is Christmas Eve (December 24) -- stores are open until close to midnight on the 24th and people and their families are out! This is a type of event (in a way) that usually takes place in the town square or the shopping district in that city. This is where street vendors are also are out with the latest toys, clothing, and gadgets and they actually have better stuff than the stores and they offer discounts if you are nice to them. Grand Market is a really nice vibe where everyone is out and about until early in the morning.

Christmas in Jamaica is truly an experience and is like nothing you have experienced anywhere else in the world. If you are planning on heading to Jamaica for your vacation this Holiday Season, be sure to take part in the festivities.


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