Every country and culture that celebrates Christmas has its own unique traditions. Most of our fondest Christmas memories are from childhood, before the pressure of making Christmas happen with; cleaning, entertaining, cooking and shopping set in.
Christmas in Grenada and the Caribbean is no exception. In early December we walked around the resort shooting our annual Christmas Greeting Video ( annual is a stretch…the last one was 5 years ago!). We took the oppertunity to ask our team what their favorite Christmas memories were and here are the top 5:
1.Baking Traditional Black Christmas Cake (contains lots of rum and wine)
(Image sourced from Global Table Adventure)
During Childhood this consisted mainly of assisting our mothers, grandmothers and great grandmothers. By assisting we mean primarily licking the batter after the bowl was scraped and being slightly disappointed (well…actually…quite disgruntled) at how thoroughly it was scraped. Some things are simply international..and licking the batter from the mixing bowl is one of them.
Traditional Black Christmas Cake contains dried fruits soaked in rum and wine for months before Christmas.It is mixed together with flour, butter, spices and more eggs than your average cake. The result; a fruity, dense, moist yet mysterious crunchy and very dark rummy cake. A little underage alcohol consumption around the holidays is also universal.
2. Christmas Cleaning
In Grenada we are big on Christmas cleaning. We are expecting lots of visitors from near and far. The house, yard and garden is given a thorough wash up and fix up. Curtains and rugs that were just fine all year round are taken down and replaced with new ones. Children are not spared in this process. In some instances to earn their christmas shopping money there is a competition between siblings for who can clean the most and the best. Those who have done the best job are rewarded with the most money. Talk about enforcing that whole naughty or nice tradition.
3. Shopping in town on 24th December (Peek Christmas Rush)
Whyyyyy do we do this to ourselves?!? Year after year!! For children this more exciting than stressful. The barely there sidewalks overflow with thick crowds and street sides are blocked by pop up Christmas vendors. As children we were on the hunt for the perfect remote control car , water guns and dolls to take back home (by now water guns are illegal). Buying apples and grapes is also traditional. Even if this is the one time during the year that we buy them. It is all part of the excitement of the holiday season.
4. Large family gatherings with lots of food.
In Grenada family gatherings at Christmas do not just mean siblings, parents and grandparents. Its more like parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and pumpkin vine cousins (pumpkin vine includes but is not limited to; your father’s sister’s husband’s aunt’s half brother’s nephew).
Some of our team say as much as 50 family members and friends fit into one home and everyone brings a dish. This means eating lots of delicious christmas favourites…most popular being ham, drinking your fair share of soft drinks, malt, sorrel, ginger beer and sneaking in some wine and rum cake…sorry we meant Traditional Black Christmas Cake.
Check social media on Christmas day around lunch time and you will see plates piled high with all manner of Christmas favourites !
5. Mêlée Parang
Pronounced ” MAY-LAY PAH- RANG”
In terms of musical genre parang can be described as a mix of Spanish and African rythms. You know it is a pragang is you hear lots of high pitched “brihhhhhhhhhhh” and “aye aye aye ahhhhhribahhhhh”. This specific type of music is unique to the eastern Caribbean and you will hear it on the radio in the last weeks of November until Christmas.
In Grenada it usually has scandalous lyrics commenting on peoples misdeeds during the past year. If you know you have been indiscreet and as we say “your business is on the road “…look forward to reliving it through the rhythms of sweet sweet parang music. In local parlance “Your name will call in parang”. It is all part of the fun (at your expense).