It’s that time of year – the time for festivity, lights, food, locally made drinks, family in fun. It’s Christmas! In fact, it’s been Christmas since Jounen Kweyol wrapped up at the end of October.
While Christmas is celebrated all around the world, nothing really compares to a St. Lucian Christmas.
After all, what’s better than taking the normal festivities and injecting a truly Caribbean flavour.
So what is really a traditional St. Lucian Christmas? While it does include gift-giving, decorating and Christmas parties at work and school, here are a couple of things that really add that St. Lucian/Caribbean flair.
In St. Lucia, the wall outlets used at various places of accommodation varies, but the primarily used standard is British (220v) outlets.
If you’re coming from the US you might not be able to plug your devices to charge without an adapter.
The same goes if you are coming from the UK you might also have difficulty getting charging spots since some lodging areas use US (120v) outlets.
It’s best to be on the safe side and travel with a universal adapter. You can’t simply purchase these at the airport like other countries. We recommend the one below.
- INTERNATIONAL COMPATIBILITY - Built to be the...
- DUAL USB CHARGING PORTS - World Adapter Plug...
- AC POWER SOCKET - This is not a voltage...
Product price accurate as of 2020-01-24 at 13:23 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
1. Cleaning the Entire House
No one is really sure when this tradition began, but cleaning your house from top to bottom is definitely the norm during the season. Floors, windows, tabletops and counters are included, and all hands are on deck.
If you ask any Caribbean person, they’ll recount a childhood filled with these annual cleaning sprees.
Some say the meticulous cleaning, changing of curtains and rugs and sometimes even new furniture is meant to dazzle people who come over during the season.
You may find St. Lucians even painting their entire house over. The Christmas season is truly a time to rethink and reimagine.
If you’ve never taken part in such intense cleaning over the Christmas season, here are a few things you can do:
- Change some small details like curtains, area rugs or paintings
- Repaint a room, or add a feature wall
- Hang some decorations like a Christmas wreath or small lights
2. House to House
Nothing, absolutely nothing, says St. Lucian Christmas more than house-to-house. Keep in mind that you’re either the host, a guest or sometimes both. Here’s the role of a host.
It necessitates stocking up on food like ham, and drinks like sorrel, mauby and alcohol. You should be prepared to host tons of people, from your family, your community or even friends of friends.
As a guest, it’s a great adventure. You move (like the name says) from house to house, enjoying Christmas delicacies. Sometimes, after the host has served you food and drinks, they may join you at the next house.
House to house is an opportunity to be extremely social and talk about any topic over good food and cold drinks.
In many communities, house to house begins as early as 7 am. In more rural areas, impromptu bands with locally made instruments often begin the traditional activity.
House to house can go on all day – and often continues in the days after Christmas as well.
If you’ve never taken part in, or hosted house to house activities, here’s what you can do:
- Become a host: ask friends and family over. Serve them food, drinks, and a good time. Ask them to bring someone along. Soon, your home will become the place to be for Christmas
- If you want to be a guest, feel free to go over to someone who you know is always open to people during the season. If you’re not totally comfortable with that, ask to join a friend. No one ever says no to a good time!
3. Local & Regional Christmas Music
What’s a house to house without music as well? While American Christmas songs have gained international notoriety, there are tons of popular St. Lucian Christmas songs as well. If you want to get familiar with them, here are some links:
- Ragga Muffin Christmas – Ras Africa (Youtube Link)
- This Christmas – Papa Vader(Youtube Link)
- Christmas Spirit – Ashanti (Youtube Link)
Here are a few links to some Christmas songs from around the Caribbean as well:
- Medley of Songs – Ruff & Ready (Youtube Link)
- Put Jesus in Your Christmas – Crazy (Youtube Link)
- Santa Looking for A Wife – Bindley Benjamin (Youtube Link)
Cooking is a BIG deal during the Christmas season. Scents of fruit cake, spiced ham and boiling sorrel greet you at almost every St. Lucian house on the days leading to Christmas.
The supermarkets are sold out of hams days in advance and workplaces even give them away to staff. While everyone may not eat ham(pork), it’s really the most popular thing during the season. In fact, some people don’t even bother with sides.
Cloves are a popular seasoning for ham in St. Lucian households. Here’s a recipe on how to bake the perfect Christmas ham
If you’re not a fan of that recipe, here’s another:
Fruit cake or black cake is a staple in local households during the season. Fruits are soaked in alcohol for weeks in advance to ensure their flavour and potency.
These cakes are often baked in large quantities to share with family and friends. Even if you’ve never made a black cake before, this recipe will guide you right through:
Now that you have your ham and black cake sorted out, you have to consider drinks. In St. Lucia, hosts prepare for house to house by stocking up on liquor, beers and other alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.
In addition, some people even make drinks at home. Locally brewed wines are a favourite in some households, but sorrel is a staple practically everywhere.
Sorrel is a plant blossom used to make the signature red Christmas drink through the process of boiling with several fragrant spices like cinnamon, cloves or nutmeg.
The drink is popular across the Caribbean. Here’s how to make it, and wow your friends during the season:
5. Festival of Lights (A great event to attend)
The festival of lights is a staple on St. Lucia’s Christmas calendar and is a must during the season. It’s held annually on the night before National Day, December 13th.
The Festival of Lights and Renewal is held in honour of St. Lucy of Syracuse, the saint of lights. The festival is meant to celebrate the triumph of light over darkness, good overcoming evil and the renewal of life.
The festivities usually start early in the evening on December 12th with a parade of lanterns in the streets of the city of Castries. A Christmas show follows, with a light and fireworks display in the city.
Whether you decide to celebrate a St. Lucian Christmas or go the usual western route, here at BelleCarib, we wish you a Merry Christmas and an absolutely wonderful New Year!