Celebrate A Merry Jamaican Christmas!

All India, 24th November 2014: Christmas brings cheer and jovial mood across all age groups and people celebrate this festival in their own distinct ways throughout the world. A contagious joie de vivre makes Jamaica a natural choice for holiday season celebrations. The island of upbeat festivals, inspired events and delicious cuisine – add a dash of holiday spirit and the recipe becomes irresistible. Although the island has never seen snow and its houses do not have chimneys, Santa Claus and his gifts are very much a part of Jamaica’s tradition, as are Christmas carols, such as Oh Holy Night and Silent Night – some can even be found in a reggae version.

Jonkanoo (or John Canoe) is a traditional Christmas celebration in Jamaica. This includes a great parade through the streets with Jamaicans dressed in colorful masquerade costumes, continuing a custom brought over from Africa by slaves. Traditionally, men wearing masks play different characters, which include the Cow Head or Horse Head, King, Queen (wearing a veil), Devil, Pitchy-Patchy, Red Indians, Belly Woman (a character dressed to look enormously pregnant) and Policeman, a mock officer of the law to keep the motley crew and crowd in check.

The Grand Market is a community fair characterized by food, street dancing, crafts and music. The weekend before Christmas and particularly on Christmas Eve, markets all over the island are set up with vendors selling small toys, firecrackers, balloons and sweets of all kinds, including pinda (an African word for peanut) cakes, grater cakes and peppermint sticks.

Traditionally on Christmas Eve some markets are decorated with streamers, large accordion-style bells, and balloons. People arrive dressed up, in fancy clothes, including bright hats purchased upon entering the Grand Market. The whole town comes to Grand Market and the celebrations last throughout the day and night.

The Christmas day meal is usually prepared on Christmas Eve. Dining in Jamaica over the holidays is a festive experience filled with delectable delights. A traditional dinner is likely to include the following specialties:

  • Baked ham, roast beef, chicken, oxtail or curried goat, accompanied by a sweet yam called yampi and Gungo (pigeon) rice and peas.
  • Jamaican fruitcake, made with fruits that are soaked for months in rum or port, with a final dousing at the Christmas table.
  • Sorrel wine, created from the red fruit of the sorrel plant fermented to a sweetened, red-colored drink spiced with ginger, cloves and pimento and laced with white rum.

Jamaican red wine and rum fruitcake is traditional and is eaten in most homes. The fruits in the cake are soaked in red wine and white rum for months before Christmas. The drink of choice for Jamaicans during the Christmas season is sorrel which is made from dried sorrel (a meadow plant), cinnamon, cloves, ginger, sugar, orange peel and rum, the beverage is usually served over ice.

You need to be in Jamaica to believe and feel the rush during this revelry. It is undoubtedly the most festive season of the year, with non-stop celebrations, special treats, entertainment, parties, festivals and happy gatherings of friends and family. Jamaica offers visitors a great escape and the ideal winter getaway. Merry Jamaican Christmas!

About Jamaica Tourist Board
The Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), founded in 1955, is Jamaica’s national tourism agency based in the capital city of Kingston. The JTB was declared the Caribbean’s Leading Tourist Board by the World Travel Awards (WTA) from 2006 to 2013. Also in 2013, Jamaica earned the WTA’s vote for the World’s Leading Cruise Destination, Caribbean’s Leading Destination and Caribbean’s Leading Cruise Destination for the seventh consecutive year. Additionally, the Historic Falmouth Cruise Port was recognized as the World’s Leading Tourism Development Project while Ocho Rios was named the Caribbean’s Leading Cruise Port and Sangster International Airport was voted the Caribbean’s Leading Airport. In Canada, Jamaica was voted the Favourite Honeymoon Destination by Travel Agents.

JTB offices are located in Kingston, Montego Bay, Miami, Toronto and London. Representative offices are located in Berlin, Barcelona, Rome, Amsterdam, Delhi and Tokyo.

For details on upcoming special events, attractions and accommodations in Jamaica go to the JTB’s Web site at www.visitjamaica.com or call the Jamaica Tourist Board at 1-800-JAMAICA (1-800-526-2422). Follow the JTB on Facebook at www.facebook.com/visitjamaica, on Twitter at www.twitter.com/visitjamaicanow, on Instagram at www.instagram.com/visitjamaica,  on Pinterest at www.pinterest.com/myjamaica, or on YouTube at www.youtube.com/myjamaicajtb. View the JTB blog at www.islandbuzzjamaica.com.

For Further Information, please contact:
Jamaica Tourist Board
c/o TRAC Representations (I) Pvt. Ltd.
Ms. Mariya Kapadia     | 022 24981777 | Email: visitjamaica@gmail.com