Merry Christ­mas Saint Lu­cian Style

The Star (St. Lucia) - - CHRISTMAS ISSUE - By Juno Perry

Afew things mark Christ­mas tra­di­tions in Saint Lu­cia, among them is the fes­tive at­mos­phere cre­ated by Car­ols, Caribbean Christ­mas mu­sic, food and of course drinks. But while th­ese are the sure signs that it’s that spe­cial time of year, speak to most Saint Lu­cians and there is an aware­ness that Christ­mas is re­ally a cel­e­bra­tion for the birth of Je­sus Christ, who ac­cord­ing to the Bi­ble is our redeemer.

Christ­mas is un­doubt­edly one of the is­land’s most cel­e­brated events.

In the past, Christ­mas mu­sic and car­ols were heard im­me­di­ately after Saint Ce­cilia’s Day in Novem­ber. But th­ese days, they are heard right after Jounen Kweyol, which is cel­e­brated the last Sun­day in Oc­to­ber.

The tra­di­tional drinks that are con­sumed at this time are sor­rel, which is made from the red petals of the Roselle Plant (a type of hibis­cus), ginger beer and an as­sort­ment of other drinks.

There is also an abun­dance of yam at this time of year, which is served with a fare of meat in­clud­ing pork, ham, beef or turkey. Black pud­ding, black cake (West In­dian fruit cake)- also com­pletes the Christ­mas food list.

Adding to the Christ­mas spirit in Saint Lu­cia as well, are the Christ­mas staff par­ties, bam­boo burst­ing and solo­ing (an in­dige­nous mu­si­cal tra­di­tion, in­volv­ing acous­tic in­stru­ments and chantwelles).

The 12-days-to-Christ­mas count­down be­gins on De­cem­ber 12, fol­low­ing the switch­ing on of the lights, into Na­tional Day on De­cem­ber 13. Dur­ing this pe­riod, homes are beau­ti­fully dec­o­rated, Christ­mas trees erected and pub­lic and business places are lit up in fes­tive Christ­mas colours.

Christ­mas Eve is marked by a num­ber of day-break events par­tic­u­larly in the ru­ral ar­eas, while oth­ers spend the night at Mid­night mass church ser­vices, held across the coun­try. Christ­mas Day it­self is re­served by most, as a time for fam­ily and gift giv­ing, while some in­dulge in mov­ing from house to house chant­ing, singing and par­tak­ing in food and drinks.

The mer­ri­ment con­tin­ues on Box­ing Day De­cem­ber 26, which is also a hol­i­day in Saint Lu­cia and goes right into New Year’s eve and New Year’s day.

Yule­tide Car­ols be­ing sung by the choir.

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