We move away from Christmas in Italy and travel 8664km southwest to Jamaica.
Located in the Caribbean, Jamaica has a beautiful landscape of beaches, mountains and rainforests which makes it a very popular tourist destination.
Not only is it the birthplace of reggae music, Jamaica has lots of other music genres that are native to the island, including ska, drum and bass, and calypso.
As you may have seen in the movie Cool Runnings, Jamaica really does have a bobsled team. And talking of running, the fastest 3 men in the world are all from Jamaica.
So, how do they celebrate Christmas in Jamaica?
Christmas is celebrated on 25th December in Jamaica.
Just over 64% of the Jamaican population are Protestant of varying denominations. Other religions include Roman Catholic, Jehovah's Witnesses and Rastafarianism.
Many people will paint their houses or put up new curtains ready for Christmas time. Christmas lights are especially popular which decorate houses, shops and streets. Palm trees are also decorated with bright coloured lights, often called ‘pepper lights’. Christmas Trees are common in most homes, mostly artificial ones although some people will have real ones. People also decorate their homes with bright red Poinsettias.
Radio stations play Christmas music and carols throughout the Christmas period. On Christmas Eve there’s the ‘Gran Market’ which happens in every town and city. It’s a kind of cross over between a market and a festival where people go during the day to shop for Christmas food, toys, sweets, clothes etc. and then at around 6 pm, people (including children) come out in their best/new clothes to celebrate and party until morning (although some people will go to Midnight Mass during the night). Just before the end of the Gran Market, on the morning of Christmas Day, many people will go to a Christmas Church service.
Jonkanoo happens during the Market, mostly in rural areas, which is where people dress up in colourful costumes and wear masks as they dance through the streets. On Boxing Day, in Kingston, there’s a national pantomime performance of ‘The Upsies and de Downzies dem’ which is a celebration of Jamaican culture, history, and folklore.
Street vendors at the Gran Market often sell things like; boiled corn, jerk chicken, candy canes and sugarcane. The main Christmas meal is prepared on Christmas Eve and eaten on Christmas Day. Christmas Breakfast is often quite a big meal even before the main dinner. It usually consists of; fish, breadfruit, fried plantains, boiled bananas, freshly squeezed fruit juice, and tea.
The main dinner is served in the late afternoon and has dishes such as; turkey, chicken, curry, goat, stewed oxtail, and rice and peas. Dessert tends to be rum fruitcake with a glass of Jamaican red wine. The fruits of the fruitcake are soaked in red wine and white rum for months before Christmas.
Our next destination looks at Christmas Celebrations in Japan.