Here’s a question for my readers: How many Christmas Caribbean traditions and customs do you practice or celebrate in your household?
Caribbean tradition provides an important connection with the past. Roots, heritage, core values are often part of that connection and give value and meaning to our lives.
Understanding and sharing our Caribbean traditions, heritage and belief systems can provide insight into present-day life.
That being said, December 25 will mark my 11th year hosting the Annual Christmas Show, “Island Riddims”, live on CKUT 90.3F. This year, the show is made even more special by a featured appearance by a special guest Dj live from Trinidad.
This year, “Island Riddims” will be from 6am to 2pm, and I will be taking live greetings on air and playing the best of all the music that makes the holidays great, such as parang, soca, reggae, and let’s not forget that traditions can provide comfort and are often a blueprint on things to do during certain celebrations, such as this Christmas issue does year-round.
In my 2011 Christmas article, I made reference to sorrel and its hidden nutrients.
Then in 2012, I talked about ginger beer, which is considered a refreshing seasonal favorite.
In 2013, I gave you the Ponche de Creme recipe, which is a highly recommended drink of Caribbean rum drinkers.
In 2014, I talked about growing up in Trinidad eating the tasty Christmastime treat, pastelles. In 2015, I gave you the recipe for the popular Caribbean Black Cake, made predominantly of alcohol-drenched fruits (prunes, currants and raisins).
In 2016, I talked about Caribbean sweet bread, a traditional recipe in most of the islands. It’s a Christmas staple, but is sometimes prepared during other holidays and special occasions like Easter and birthdays.
This year, I would like to acknowledge that every Caribbean home in Montreal is a little different, as families draw on their mixed (regional) cultures and culinary traditions. So I’m sharing a few popular dishes prepared in various islands:
*Breadfruit (cheese) pie is a popular Christmas dish in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and all the Windward Islands.
Breadfruit pie is a baked concoction of breadfruit, cheese, milk, flour, butter and breadcrumbs, which has the same consistency of baked mashed potato. Creamy and delicious, it is a filling side dish to accompany other traditional Caribbean Christmas recipes.
*Oildown is the national dish of Grenada, and takes its place in many celebrations year-round. It is a hearty and filling recipe that consists of salted meat/pork, chicken, dumplings, breadfruit, callaloo, dasheen leaves and assorted vegetables (called provisions). Everything is stewed down in one pot with coconut milk, herbs and spices.
This traditional dish is a favorite at family get-togethers, especially around Christmas time.
*Christmas ham has become the landmark staple for Christmas. In the Caribbean, Christmas is not complete without a big ham. Glazes are made with a variety of mouth-watering ingredients, including pineapple, ginger, honey, cinnamon, cloves, marmalade, and sugar.
Christmas is the spirit of giving without the thought of getting.
If you do take part in any Caribbean Christmas traditions and culinary adventures, please share and introduce them to someone new.
– Dec. 19th, 2005 – Onika Bostic, known for solo hits and as the lead singer of Burning Flames, dies of injuries sustained in an accident
on Dec. 11.
– Dec 29th, 1982 – Bob Marley postage stamp issued in Jamaica. First ever stamp issued in recognition of a Rastafarian in Jamaica.
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