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Christmas Eve in Jamaica

12/22/05

Permalink 09:32:26 pm, by Melba
Categories: Commentary

Christmas Eve in Jamaica

December 24 is Grand Market (or Gran' Market) night in Jamaica and as a child that was always a night to look forward to at Christmas. The shops are all open as long as the shoppers are out. The streets are lined with street vendors selling toys, sweets, balloons, star lights, firecrackers and all the excitement of Christmas. The music is played loudly for everyone’s enjoyment. You can always get that last minute gift, no problem. Most Jamaican families however, go to Grand Market simple for the fun and excitement of it all.
I was born and raised in Kingston and I must confess we are cheated out of the ‘whole nine yards’ of Grand Market. Traditionally on Christmas Eve, Jamaicans not only celebrated Christmas with Grand Market but also with Jonkanoo (or John Canoe). In rural Jamaica these traditions are still observed and enjoyed in most communities.

Follow up:

Grand Markets is a community fair celebrated with food, street dancing, crafts and music which last throughout the day and night . The Markets are decorated with streamers, large accordion-style bells, and balloons. People dress in fancy clothes, including bright hats purchased upon entering the Grand Market.
Jonkanoo is a traditional Christmas celebration which was brought to Jamaica by the Africa slaves. Jonkanoo dancers parade through the streets dressed in colourful costumes. Jonkanoo bands include a mixture of traditional and modern characters, which vary from one part of the island to another. These characters includes Cow Head or Horse-head, King, Queen (wearing a veil), Devil, Pitchy-Patchy, Red Indians, Belly Woman (a "woman" with largely pronounced/exaggerated "pregnancy") and a mock Policeman to keep the crew and crowd in check.
Christmas Eve is a fun day for all, whether in Kingston or in rural Jamaica. It’s a great time for families to bond and have fun together. After a great night out you get in just in time to get dressed and head out again for Christmas service or mass depending on your religion.
If you are in Jamaica this Christmas make sure to join in the festivities.
Nuff love.

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Reasons why I love my Jamaican Mom

1. My Mother taught me about ANTICIPATION.
"Just wait till we get home."

2. My Mother taught me about RECEIVING.
"You going get a ass'n when we get home!"

3. My Mother taught me to MEET A CHALLENGE.
"What di backside yu thinkin'? Answer me when me talk to you...Don't talk back to me!"

4. My Mother taught me CONSEQUENCES.
"If yu run cross de road an' cyar lick yu dung, a goin' kill yu wid lick."

5. My Mother taught me THE VALUE OF EDUCATION.
"If yu no go a school, yu a go tun tief or walk an' pick up bottle."

6. My Mother taught me MEDICAL SCIENCE.
"If yu tun over yu eye lid an fly pitch pan it, it a go stay so fi evva."

7. My Mother taught me to THINK AHEAD.
"Is not one time monkey goin' wan' wife"

8. My Mother taught me ESP.
"Yu tink a don't know what yu up to nuh?"

9. My Mother taught me HUMOR.
"If yu don' eat food, breeze goin' blow yu 'way."

10. My Mother taught me how to BECOME AN ADULT.
"Come an' tek yu beatin' like man."

11. My Mother taught me about SEX.
"Yu tink say yu drop from sky?"

12. My Mother taught me about GENETICS.
"Yu jus' like yu faada."

13. My Mother taught me about my ROOTS.
"Yu tink mi come from "Back A Wall?"

14. My Mother taught me about WISDOM OF AGE.
"When yu get to be as ol' as me, yu wi understan'."

15. And my all time favorite... JUSTICE.
"One day wen yu have pickney, a hope dem treat yu same way."

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