Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Christmas: Jamaican Style

Even though I came to America when I was 11 years old, I have been able to preserve some nostalgic memories of Christmas time in Jamaica as a little girl that warms my heart remembering them.

These memories  just bring back the vibes that were in the "air" during those times like my nuclear family traditions, the Jamaican/Reggae Christmas music playing on the radio, smell of food cooking for Christmas dinner, specific drinks and just the overall happiness, joy and excitement that was felt and seen all around during this time of year.

I especially remember my Mother always making roast beef where she would cut holes all over the beef and inject her seasoning blend of fresh garlic, thyme, scotch bonnet pepper etc.  The aroma that filled the house was mmmmmmm so good and the meal was always mouth watering delicious.

I remember crates of 'irated water' (as my mom calls soda) with various flavors at home.  They were the popular Jamaican brand D&G, back in then the soda bottles were tall and resembled the classic Coca-Cola bottles. I could drink as many and as often as I wanted. This only happened at this time of year though we didn't really drink soda during the year only a once in a while for a treat.

As with all cultures, each family/individual has their own unique traditions within a cultural unit, however there are some common constants that I will share about a typical Jamaican Christmas.

Below is a list of the common constants for a "Jamaican Christmas"

1.  Classic Reggae Christmas Songs such as...

Let the Christmas catch you in a Good Mood
The Joe Gibbs
Little Drummer Boy

Barrington Levy
2.  Jamaican Christmas (Fruit/rum) Cake

3.  Sorrel Drink Jamaican Style

Sorrel Drink Recipe

4.  Squeaky Clean House, New Curtains etc.
5.  Everybody exchanging Christmas and 'Compliments of the Season' Greetings.
6.  People reminiscing about Christmas time when they were growing up:
Happy Holidays to you and Yours!!


  1. Oh I love the nostalgia that the Christmas season brings out.

    I've never heard those two Christmas songs that you mentioned—is it odd that Boney M comes to mind when I think of Jamaica and Christmas time? We enjoy listening to Mary's Boy Child around this time of year.

    Have you ever made the rum cake from the recipe you linked to? My mom wanted an authentic Jamaican rum cake for her birthday this year but it was last minute and we didn't know if we could make an authentic one so we didn't.

    Do you keep any of the traditions from a Jamaican Christmas today?

    1. Boney M sure, Classics as well....there are just so many. I've never made the rum cake from this link but my intuition trusts this recipe because of the look of the cake, the ingredients and method as well as the "tried and true" testimony of the Jamaican "baker" of the blog who said the recipe never failed her.

      I LOVE rum cake!!!!

      Living in America changes everything. We don't have any traditions anymore however for the past three years my Nigerian family, Benjamin's parents (remember that post?) invites us to an Annual Christmas party their association of friends have on Christmas every year. It's fun and I love dancing to traditional Nigerian the drumming.

  2. Boney M, still remains the best of Christmas songs to me, and the preparation in Nigeria is similar: Cleaning, re-painting houses, new curtains and clothes....the only thing missing is the Christmas tree then....but now, some Nigerians now decorate Christmas trees.... the rice, chicken and mineral are on another level...we would eat until we can't take another bite!

    We would go visiting neighbours and friends in the area who would give us money or was fun,

    Merry Christmas Favored.

    1. Hey New Dawn! Boney M created great Christmas songs for sure.

      Yes the food is really on another level. Even the Jamaican rice and peas dish taste soo different that other times when its cooked.

      It's nice to know there are/were some common practices around this Holiday Season in our Cultures.


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