Merry Christmas Saint Lucian Style
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.