|Nativity scene at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church|
Christmas is a big celebration in Jamaica. The excitement is felt in the air in the weeks leading up to Christmas. On Christmas Eve the masses gather at Grand Market to do their Christmas Shopping. Celebrations go on all night and end around 7 or 8am the next morning. On Christmas day many attend church and have a big Christmas meal with chicken, pork and goat as the main dish.
My Christmas experience was wonderful. I ventured out on the 23rd during the day and caught some of the crowd and culture. I was intrigued by the Junkanoo characters that dance around the streets in their scary masks, pointing pitch forks and asking for money, all in good fun and a tradition from the past. I didnt have a camera to capture the Junkanoo but believe me they are some of the scariest masks I have seen. I spent Christmas eve with my host family helping bake traditional Jamaican fruit cake. It turned out really good! Christmas Day I attended church with my host family. I was so happy to see the alter decorated with a Christmas tree and Nativity scene. I hadn't seen many decorations or trees leading up to Christmas as I am accustomed to in the US. It made me appreciate the decorations all the more when they were put up on Christmas Day. I was so happy to finally sing some Christmas songs in Church on Christmas Day, as we had not sang any Christmas songs before then. I could listen to Christmas songs all year around I love them so much. Yay Christmas Carols to celebrate the birth of Jesus. After church we served communion to the sick who could not attend church that day. We were offered Jamaican fruit cake and Sorrel juice (traditional Christmas drink). Soon after I headed to Ocho Rios to celebrate with other PCV's on the beach. We caught some rays and soaked our cares away in the warm waters of Jamaica.