Christmas in St. Vincent Really Sweet!
In the words of Mr Carlton ‘CP’ Hall, the sweetest Christmas is around the corner! What are you anticipating the most? Is it time with family, gifts, food or nine morning fun? Your Christmas experience these days may be a little different to the way it was when you were younger but we cannot let life’s troubles and our responsibilities drown out our fond memories of Christmas past.
I’m sure you remember the days when you had to do Christmas cleaning, against your will as a child, while listening to parang only to find yourself singing and dancing to the sweet sounds of Scrunter or the great Baron. You knew exactly what was coming when your mother would turn on the radio and gather cleaning supplies; you’d be wiping down furniture, cleaning windows, and scrubbing and sweeping floors until you were too tired to lift a finger. But it was okay because your reward would be a piece of freshly baked bread or cake or maybe a cold Vita Malt (What is Christmas without Vita Malt?).
Do you recall struggling to wake up early for Nine Mornings? Just thinking about all the activities would give you a surge of excitement. You’d be so enthusiastic knowing you could be up on stage partaking in one of the many games being hosted by CP and when the joke segment came around you’d laugh your belly full. All the while you’re surrounded by the food and drinks of the season. Leaving the festivities behind was always bittersweet as you always wished it was never-ending but the need for sleep or important obligations would eventually set in. So you’d do a little window shopping walking to the bus stop or car on your way home.
One of the most memorable parts of a Vincy Christmas is the lighting up in our communities. This tradition along with house to house serenading, seems to be dwindling but I hope we can keep them alive as they give us an opportunity to come together in peace and love and harmony.
“Me aunty send down barrel!” You know you’re in the thick of the season when you hear these words and you couldn’t wait to see what’s inside. In the last few days before Christmas day, Kingstown is filled to capacity. The supermarket lines are long as people make last minute purchases to ensure that everything is perfect on the big day. As a child, these are the days you would dread as you walk for hours with your parents through Town. Your only consolation is the possibility that they would buy you a toy so you continuously beg in hopes that they’ll give in to your request.
Whether you’re 5 or 50 there is always a certain sense of elation waking up on Christmas morning, a feeling of magic in the air while you look around at your well-decorated home and the delicious scents wafting from the kitchen throughout the day make your mouth water. This is the day of the great feast! Baked pork and chicken, stewed beef, macaroni pie, shepherd’s pie, lasagna, potato salad, stewed, pigeon peas, you name it! Can you almost feel the burning now as Ginger beer hits the back of your throat and you shudder in delight of the taste? Or the fizz you feel in your chest as you quickly gulp down one of our locally made soft drinks? What about the Sorrel? Most of us enjoy a cold glass with our Christmas lunch. Several ham sandwiches will be eaten on this day and you can’t forget the black or fruit cake and of course there’s Black Wine.
Our traditions are unique and important. I hope they will be passed on from generation to generation so we can keep Christmas in SVG alive. Merry Vincy Christmas!
Photo credit: The St.Vincent & The Grenadines Tourist Office, Calvert Jones and Ricky Hill.
Article submitted by: Rashida Munroe.