Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Caribbean Christmas Traditions

Image Courtesy of St. Kitts Nevis Carnival
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Image Courtesy of The Whoot
Image Courtesy of Sweet & Savory St. Kitts
Image Courtesy of Palm Island Resort Grenadines

As a child most of our family traditions included going to church, singing in "Lessons and Carols", and baking holiday pastries.  Now that I'm a parent, my husband and I have made our own traditions for our family.  Our family traditions include attending church services during the holiday season, trimming the tree, listening to holiday music, baking and watching classic holiday movies.  Some of our newer traditions (mainly for the children) include the Elf on the Shelf and now the Night Before Christmas Box.  My favorite traditions are watching the classic holiday movies, listening to the holiday music and baking.  It's amazing how my husband's culture as well as mine have blended.  His family is from Carriacou, Grenada and my family is from St. Kitts & Jamaica.  I think all Caribbean folks bake during the holidays but we all bake different things.  My mom always baked her black cake and that was it.  My mother-in-law bakes coconut tarts, sweetbread and sweet buns.  So I've been fortunate to be able to enjoy all and any of these freshly baked items every holiday season!  After a few years, I am more familiar with how to bake the coconut tarts because my husband and my mother-in-law have taught me.  However, the tradition isn't the same if we are not baking together.  We have now included my daughter in our baking tradition and she loves it as well!  Tonight we will begin our baking festivities!  There is plenty coconut to grate!  My experience has been that the scraped fingers and chipped fingernails are all so worth the yumminess of the finished product of coconut tart!  My In-laws also have a tradition of serenading their neighbors with a Caribbean holiday music called Parang. They go door-to-door with small instruments and sing Parang! We are both part of such rich cultures.  If my mom and I were to visit St. Kitts during this time, we would be celebrating Carnival (SugarMas). Our hope is to be able to pass along all these traditions to our children so that our ancestors' legacies can live on during holiday time.  Whatever you do during the holiday season as your traditions, hold it close and pass it on to your children or the young people in your family so that it will not be forgotten.  Whatever traditions you choose to follow, we wish you all the best during the holiday season.  Enjoy your family and be grateful for all your blessings!

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