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. Some traditions make it extra special:
Baking Traditional Black Christmas Cake (contains lots of rum and wine)
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.
A lots of visitors are expected 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.
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).
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 traditional black cake.
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).
Source: True Blue Bay, Grenada