Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year. There is so much love and happiness at that time. It is celebrated in many different ways around the world. In Jamaica, Christmas is a time to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and is also a time for family. December 25th and 26th are both national holidays in Jamaica.
Many homes are decorated for Christmas. We love to create designs using many lights. We have Christmas trees but children don’t believe in Santa Claus. We also love singing Christmas carols and we can hear carols on the radio starting in November.
Some families celebrate Christmas by going to church on Christmas morning, usually around 6:00 a.m. and afterwards, they return home to open presents. This is followed by a big family breakfast which usually includes our national dish, ackee (a tropical fruit) and salted (cod) fish. Immediately after breakfast we prepare a big family dinner and everyone helps with this. Ham is the typical choice served at dinner. Many relatives also visit each other at Christmas time.
We also go to Christmas plays and many parties at this time of the year. Young people especially love going to parties. It is seen as a time to relax and unwind after a year of working very hard.
There is also a special Jamaican Christmas drink called sorrel. It is a red drink that looks like cranberry juice, but is actually made from hibiscus, and is very delicious. We also have a special Christmas fruitcake. Most, if not all, homes will have sorrel punch and fruitcake to offer visitors at Christmas time. Christmas is really a wonderful and magical time and the difference can be seen and felt everywhere. I think it’s easy to be in a perpetually good mood at this time of the year.
unwind (v) – to relax or reduce tension
perpetually (adv.) – continuing forever or for a very long time without stopping