Radiant Tree Productions, LLC
Christmas In Jamaica
During the five years our family and I lived in Jamaica, I grew to cherish the culture and traditions of the country. Since our return back to the U.S., I always have it as a goal to one day have our family spend Christmas in Jamaica again. Longing for that "Island Holiday" feel. This page is not only dedicated to the culture of the Island, but the traditional foods and drinks served during the holidays. Included are healthy recipes that are traditionally served throughout the year as well.
Debbie Mirander, Jamerican
Jamaicans have unique cultures and traditions. Most Jamaicans are friendly and hospitable. The Jamaican traditions during Christmas time are some of most memorable ones I have. While living in Jamaica I remember Christmas time as a very festive time. Going to Brown's Town market and surrounding areas to shop, as the different Carribean Christian Christmas music filled the air is something that has been ingrained in my memory. Leaving me a feeling of joyfulness! Having drinks prepared such as sorrel drink, ginger drink, and soursop drink, was a real treat.
I consulted with some Jamaicans who shared their memories of what their families did around Christmas Time. One gave memories of her family going to market on Christmas Eve. Calling it "Grand Market Day". This was very big in Jamaica and often came with "Firecrackers and Starlights". Children dressed up in their best clothes to accompany their parents. Getting and giving gifts wasn't a big deal. It was the thought that counted. Fresh baked breads was made in the shape of ducks and given to the children. And being with your family was "The Bomb". People that lived in Kingston, would go to country to visit their family as well. Some families fried a fish called sprat on Christmas. Such as is also done on Good Friday. And eaten with bread. Some still do even till this day.
On this page, I have included some of the common drinks and recipes that Jamaicans enjoy during this holiday season. As well as some of the traditional dishes enjoyed throughout the year. Whether you are Jamaican or just love the Jamaican dishes and drinks. I invite you to try the drinks and dishes below during this Christmas Holiday season. They are simply delicious. Yeah Mon! Happy Christmas to you.
Special thanks to Sis. Octavia Reid for
sharing her family's Jamaican Christmas tradition.
Sorrel Drink (non-alcoholic version)
This drink is actually an infusion of sorrel flowers.
(My personal recipe)
8 cups of water
2-3 cups of brown sugar or natural sweetner
squeeze 8 lime
1. Shred ginger and add to water along with lime juice and cinannon sticks.
2. Bring to boil, add pimento and let soak for 24hr.
3. Squeeze into cheese cloth to strain.
4. Add apple cider to taste.
5. Dilute as desired.
Jamaican Fruit Cake
(Non white rum version)
This is really a rice and beans dish, but in Jamaica, beans are called peas.
Ackee and saltfish
Ackee and saltfish is Jamaica's national dish.
Akee on our backyard tree.
1 Can of ackee, drained
1/2 lb boneless salt cod
3 tablespoons oil
2 onions, sliced
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 scotch bonnet pepper skin finely chopped up
1 small tomato, chopped
1/2 sweet pepper chopped
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
Soak the salt cod in a pot of water overnight to remove most of the salt. If the cod is still very salty, boil in water for 20 minutes. Drain cod and cut or break into small pieces.
Heat oil in a frying pan. Add the onions, thyme and scotch bonnet pepper, tomato, and green peppers. Stir for a few minutes. Add the cod. Stir. Simmer for 5 minutes, then add the can of drained ackee. Do not stir because this will cause the ackees to break up. Cook for a few more minutes then sprinkle with black pepper.
Best served with bammy, roast breadfruit, fried or cooked dumplings, or fried or cooked plantains, cooked yams and Jamaican sweet potatoes.