A bit of nostalgia for those of you who can remember, while for others a chance to learn, about some of our Jamaican Christmas traditions.
“Grand Market” and “Jamaican Sorrel” are two important elements of a Jamaican Christmas.
Christmas is the most celebrated holiday season in Jamaica. Children especially look forward to this time of the year. Not all because of Santa Claus. It is the season when most Jamaican parents treat their kids to new clothes. Thus the kids usually get to dress up in these new clothes and attend Grand Market and other events throughout the season.
Grand Market is held on Christmas Eve in all major towns across Jamaica. It is considered by many Jamaicans as the highlight of the Christmas season. It is also the liveliest day of the year; as vendors and stores usually operate for the entire day and night. From as early as 6 am on Christmas Eve most businesses are open. The streets are lined with vendors selling clothing, household items, decorations, ground provisions and items not available all year round.
Grand Market provides an opportunity for parents and their smartly dressed children to complete their last minute Christmas shopping. Festivities and music go hand in hand in Jamaica. So sound boxes playing music are set up to entertain. After a certain time of the night, a lot Jamaicans usually gather in a “street dance fashion” to dance, drink and enjoy themselves until Christmas morning.
Christmas Day usually begins with the playing of Christmas Carols. However Christmas dinner is what most Jamaicans look forward to. It is a Jamaican tradition to have Jamaican Sorrel with Christmas dinner.
Jamaican Sorrel is a drink made from the Hibiscus Sabdariffa flower (Sorrel). In Mexico this Christmas drink is called ‘Agua de Jamaica’ (Jamaican water). The Hibiscus Sabdariffa plant is harvested and the dried flowers pods are boiled and used to make this famous and refreshing drink. Ginger is added for flavor and it is sweetened with sugar and a splash of white over proof rum is usually added to give it a kick.
Jamaica Sorrel is not only tasty but has numerous nutritional benefits you may not be aware of. Sorrel is an excellent source of Vitamin C. It is also rich in iron, calcium, copper, magnesium and phosphorus. It helps to lower blood pressure, high cholesterol and it enhances liver function.
Thanks Jhana Dunbar for this informative post.