It’s about time we are honest: Christmas is about food!
Immediately after breakfast, the Christmas dinner cooking gets underway. My first job would always be to visit the butcher to purchase mutton from a freshly killed goat. The typical menu for our dinner includes the following:
|Pot of Curried mutton|
Pot roast/stewed beef
Rice and gungo (cajun) peas
Dinner is ready by 1 o’ clock in the afternoon. I suppose this is a reason for why we put on so much at weight at Christmas. After eating so early, of course by 6 o’ clock we’re going to be hungry. One sure way to limit this was to visit close friends and family after dinner. Country folks are certain to offer you king-sized dinner, cake and sorrel.
A tradition in our family is to have a new suit of clothes every Christmas. This practice has followed us into adult life. As kids the entertainment for night was all about the merry-go-round. The country version was made out of wood. We would pay to take turns riding for a a few minutes. The sheer rush of anxiety experienced was a thrill in itself. Our parents would get us a soda and roasted peanuts. The large quantity of food had earlier inhibited any further ingestion.
Getting older meant we could visit the huge street party held in what could be called the “town square”. Our little commnity, Point Hill, is nestled in Northern St. Catherine, Jamaica. On this night we what is by far the largest gathering of persons from the entire community. All of whom you haven’t seen in ages, those who returned home from abroad, those migrated to the city, they all turn out for the night’s party. The men and women are dressed in everything that’s trending. The hottest fashions are on show, latest hairstyles are on exhibition.
The only food available here is jerked chicken/pork served with bread. Beers and wines are available in abundance. Usually, about one in every five persons gets drunk by daybreak. There’s loud music from every genre but dancehall is most popular by far. The party continues until the sun comes up. By this time, numerous men are suffering from a nasty hangover and ladies from sore feet (standing all night in five-inch heels does that).
Come next year we do it all over again. It is indeed the most wonderful time of the year. The food is delicious and plenty. The family gets together and spend quality time entertaining each other. Friends reunite after months or years of separation, reminisce on old times, leaving one with a feeling of nostalgia. That’s how it used to be.
These days the way we enjoy Christmas is changing, the fun is gone. We now have a heavily commercialised holiday. Thankfully, I have my childhood experiences to recount in this artificial age.