Despite the absence of snow and chimneys, Santa Claus continues to visit Jamaica, and gift-giving is part of the custom. Here's how to have a Jamaican-style tropical Christmas.
The first Christmas trees were brought to North America by German settlers who built homes near the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia. The trees were planted outside and became known as "Christmas trees." Today, California's Lake Merritt is home to one of the largest collections of Christmas trees in the world.
Christmas has become a major holiday in Canada, with millions of dollars' worth of gifts being exchanged each year. It is also a significant day for France and Germany, where it is called Noël (pronounced nawl). In England, it is known as Christmas Day and comes after the Christian holy day of December 26th.
In Jamaica, people exchange gifts on Christmas Eve, which is before Christmas Day. There is no such thing as Valentine's Day in Jamaica - unless you count "Forever Yours" as a form of affection! The only reason why some people give gifts on February 14th is because that is when Hot 97 broadcasts the Grammy Awards. Otherwise, Christmas is all about gifts for everyone, from your family to your neighbors. And yes, even kids get gifts at Christmas time!
In fact, according to an article in the Jamaica Gleaner, Santa visits every Jamaican from top to bottom, no matter how rich or poor they are.
The article also mentioned that it is not unusual for Jamaicans to wait until Christmas Day to open their gifts because they want to make sure that they are really wanted. This shows that gift giving is more than just a holiday tradition in Jamaica; it is also based on mutual respect. If you do not like what someone has given you, then you have the right to return it.
Now, about that big guy with the white beard and those reindeer pulling his sleigh. Yes, kids across Jamaica love Santa because he brings them gifts and tells them what they've been doing wrong this year. But unlike in some countries where Santa only comes once a year, here in Jamaica he visits every single person on the island.
So if you happen to live in Jamaica and you're wondering whether or not there is a Santa figure in Jamaica, the answer is yes. He's called "Osta Santo" and he lives at the North Pole.
People bake cookies and wrap them in Christmas paper or boxes. They also make sugar plum dolls that are dressed up like Santa Claus.
Santa Claus comes to Jamaica every year on the night between December 23rd and 24th. He travels through the mountains back to his home in New York State, bringing gifts for good children and coal for the fireplace on St. Nicholas Day.
It isn't only Jamaicans who believe in Santa Claus. Even after they become adults, some Jamaican children still think it's fun to ask Santa for toys and food for Christmas. In fact, studies show that nearly all Jamaican children grow up believing in Santa Claus.
In Jamaica, people usually don't call Santa Claus "Mr. Claus" or "Sir Claus." Instead, they refer to him as "The Saint," "Saint Nick," or simply "Santa."
Here in the United States, where most people know Santa only from watching television commercials during the holiday season, many Jamaicans find this idea of a jolly old elf delivering presents to good children everywhere else in the world but their own country strange.
Christmas is one of the most important religious and cultural festivities in Jamaica, which has more churches per square mile than any other country in the world.
Jamaicans celebrate Christmas from December 24 to January 6, depending on what day they were born on. It is a public holiday for children under 14 years old. Christmas is a time when extended families get together, followed by New Year's Eve and Day. Gifts are given to others as well as declared by individuals. Church services are held throughout the week with Sunday being the largest church service of the year. Decorations such as trees, lights, and rosaries are put up in homes and businesses across Jamaica.
In Jamaica, it is not unusual to hear people mention how certain traditions have become customs. For example, it is common to see cars with Christmas lights on them during the rest of the year. These vehicles will usually have red and green colors around their windows and doors. This is an indication that someone within the family is going on vacation.
Similarly, you may see houses with colored shingles or siding. This indicates who is getting a new house built, who is moving into an existing house, or who is renovating an old one. The list goes on and on!
Jamaicans observe the holiday by attending church, giving presents with family members, and meeting for a great dinner. Christmas Day dinner, Jamaica's largest feast, comprises chicken, oxtail, curry goat, roast ham, rice, and gungo peas. Gungo peas, a Jamaican Christmas staple, mature in December. They are served boiled or fried with salt fish, potato chips, onion, and pepper.
Gift shopping is an important part of Christmas for many Jamaicans. Stores offer special discounts on items such as televisions, refrigerators, and cars on the day after Christmas (called "Black Friday").
Jamaica's population is mostly black, but it also has a large community of Caribbeans and others from the Indian subcontinent who follow Hindu and Muslim traditions, respectively.
Christmas is a public holiday in Jamaica. This means that banks, schools, and businesses are closed on Dec. 25. The holiday was created by British colonists to give their overseas possessions a break from work and school during the winter season when travel and shipping are difficult.
There is no religious significance attached to the date itself; instead, it marks the birth of Jesus Christ. However, most Jamaicans identify more closely with Christianity than with any other religion, so most celebrate the holiday by going to church, visiting relatives, and eating Christmas dinner.
Christians mark the day by attending church and spending time with their family. Non-Christians have taken advantage of this event to bring their families together. More on Christmas in Jamaica may be found here. This holiday is observed on January 1st of each year and is observed in the majority of countries throughout the world.
In Jamaica, Christmas is a public holiday and most businesses will be closed. Stores will start putting up their Christmas decorations early in October. The island's parishes with a large Catholic population (such as Kingston and St. Andrew) will also see many more churches put up their Christmas trees already compared to Protestant parishes like Orange County and St. Thomas.
Here are some interesting facts about Jamaica regarding Christmas:
Jamaica is the only country in the world that celebrates both Christmas and New Year's at the same time. During Christmas week, schools and offices are expected to be closed, making this an ideal time for families to be together.
Christmas is the most popular festival in Jamaica and draws millions of visitors to its shopping malls and street parties every year.
The word "Christmas" comes from the Latin Christus mas, which means "Christ's mass". According to history books, this term was first used in England during the 16th century to describe a religious ceremony held on December 25th designed to mimic Jesus' birth into heaven.