The Short and the Tall

Christmas Traditions Aussies share with Jamaicans

Although Australia is over 16,000km away from Jamaica, there are a number of Christmas traditions we share with our Caribbean friends. To celebrate all things festive, we go back to our roots and look at the Christmas traditions that crossover between Australia and Jamaica.

These are some of the festive traditions that ring true for both Aussies and Jamaicans:

  • Christmas is a time to catch up with loved ones

What’s Christmas without celebrating with a big family gathering? Traditionally in Jamaica, Christmas Day is heavily centred around a bountiful dinner party with close friends and family – Just as you would see here in Australia. In Jamaica, family is very important. Not only with the immediate family but there’s a special bond with the entire extended family include grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins.

  • Food and drink are at the centre of all Christmas celebration

Food and drink are what brings everyone together especially during the festive season. It wouldn’t be a Christmas feast without a delicious leg of roasted ham, and this is synonymous for both Aussie and Jamaican traditions! Sweets are also enjoyed, with Christmas cake and pudding to round up any feast. Jamaicans also enjoy hibiscus iced tea, gungo peas, curry goat and roast chicken during Christmas. So, this festive season, we bring you a little taste of Christmas in Jamaica with our Christmas Roast Chicken Wrap and the deliciously refreshing Jamaican Christmas Iced Tea. Both available now at all Jamaica Blue cafes until 31 December, so get in store to try it for yourself!

  • No white Christmas – Nothing but the sun and sand!

Like in Australia, Jamaicans celebrates Christmas in warm, tropical weather. Nothing says a classic Christmas more than soaking up the warm sun rays on the beach or at a backyard BBQ.

While there are similarities, Jamaicans do have their own unique way of celebrating Christmas. Here are the top Jamaican Christmas traditions you should know:

  • Grand Market

The Grand Market is an event that all Jamaicans look forward to during Christmas time. The Grand Markets kick off from the night of Christmas Eve and goes into the wee hours of Christmas morning! Everyone gets dressed in their best outfits and celebrate with lots of Christmas food, sweets and treats. There’s also plenty of decorations along the streets, shops and homes to kick off the festivities.

  • Christmas Mass

A large percentage of Jamaicans are Christian so at midnight on Christmas Day, most Jamaicans will go to church for Christmas mass. Did you know that Jamaica also has the most churches per square mile in the world!

  • Jonkanoo

Jonkanoo is also a big tradition in Jamaica during this festive period. Jonkanoo is a street parade that involves people dressing up in costumes and mask as they dance along to themed music. To set the scene, Jonkanoo bands will play  the drums, rattles, fifes as well as bottles and graters.