In the last post, I mostly talked about what I did to celebrate the Christmas Season. However, I should point out the very distinct Vincy Christmas Traditions.
In addition to the Nine Mornings Festival, which I briefly covered in the last post, there are many other celebrations that are unique to SVG. First off, Christmas is an important season. It’s a time when family and friends come over to visit. That means, the house must be in tip top shape. Many people repaint the exterior of their homes and redecorate the interiors. Women often hang new curtains, buy new “carpet” (more like wall paper, but for the floor). Remember in the last post when I said Town was crazy from every one shopping. This mostly included people selling carpet on the street; it comes in a giant roll and you just cut how much you want, similar to buying fabric at a craft store. Other big-ticket items being sold in Town were dolls, and other toys, curtains, and other housewares.
Food is a critical part of Caribbean Culture. Christmastime is no exception. Christmas is NOT Christmas without the Ham. That’s all there is to that. Furthermore there are other unique foods that are prepared for Christmas lunch. These include: ginger beer, sorrel juice, black cake, and fruitcake. Before you gawk at the fruitcake, believe me, its nothing like American fruitcake. This has no chunks of candied jellied artificially colored “fruit” bits. Ginger beer is an interesting experience, depending on how strong it’s made. It is made from grating fresh ginger and mixing it with water and sugar and some whole cloves and other spices and letting it ferment? in the sun for a few days, then straining out the grated ginger and serving over ice. Depending on how much ginger is added, it may have a strong bite. The ginger beer my neighbor made nearly killed me it was so hot. When I went by my school’s counselor’s house, she served me some ginger beer that was much more mild. In fact it was more sweet than hot. Another Christmas drink is sorrel juice. This is made from sorrel or hibiscus flowers that are boiled and or by pouring boiling water over them. It’s then mixed with sugar and cloves. I do not entirely know how to describe the taste of this juice other than very fruity and sweet. Sometimes fresh ginger is added to this as well. The first time I made this, I made the mistake of adding too much ginger. Who knew you only needed a tiny bit. Well, I added about half of a whole root. Needless to say, I nearly died from the intensity of the ginger and lack of sugar I added. I should have known there was something wrong with my juice when it was the color of a deep red rose, and everyone else’s is a pretty light fuchsia color. Black cake is made from black wine. I don’t know much else about it other than that, but it tastes delicious. It’s not sweet, but it’s pretty dense and moist. The fruitcake was nice because all the fruit (raisins, currants, and mixed peel) is blended up first, so it’s like regular cake with a hint of fruit flavor. Very tasty!
Boxing day is celebrated in SVG. In my opinion it is just a continuation of Christmas; a time to visit everyone you did not have time to pass by on Christmas Day. You eat, you drink and you are merry.
Between Nine Mornings (9 days of street parties), CanFest (carnival type fetes), Food, Drink, Boxing Day (more Food and More Drink), what’s not to love about Christmas time in SVG?