For those who are used to spending Christmas in the UK, it can be difficult to imagine exactly what a Caribbean Christmas is like. I speak to many people who have their reservations about spending the holidays in the sun as it is so different to what they’re used to. However, after their first experience, many people in my network now find themselves preferring this way of celebrating the festive period!
Here is what you need to know about celebrating Christmas in St Lucia.
People are often surprised, but the holiday season here is not too different to back in the UK. A large reason for this is that the island is primarily Christian. The entire spirit of the holidays is the same in that it is a period for family, friends and taking the time to be together. There are parties, decorations, carol singing, cards, festive music, Santa Claus, presents and fine food and drink.
The food, for many, is one of the most important aspects, so you may be happy to hear that Christmas dinner is quite similar but with a Caribbean twist. Turkey or roast lamb is accompanied by yams, plantains and sweet potato, whilst for dessert, a black Christmas pudding is served. This is a variation of the classic dish, but is boiled for several hours until black and the currants, raisins and fruits are soaked in red wine (as opposed to brandy). I highly recommend trying this if you get the chance.
Much like the UK, the 24th of December sees parties go on till the early hours (although these are often held on the beach), whilst the 25th is usually a quieter day for spending with family, exchanging gifts and food and drink.
As you can see, Christmas in St Lucia is not too different and the only major difference is the climate, which allows you to spend a lot of time celebrating outdoors. Personally, I love to take a stroll along the beach after dinner and take in the beautiful views.
Like most countries, St Lucia has its own annual traditions which help to create a unique and magical atmosphere. The Festival of Lights and Renewal is the most notable, where there are lantern-making competitions held which are then used to decorate the towns and villages. On the 13th, these beautiful lanterns are switched on and illuminate the entire island.
Another popular tradition is carried out at night from late November and is called “Busting the bamboo”. For this, men stuff bamboo cane with rags and kerosene and then light the wick; this causes a loud explosion and signifies that the holidays are upon us. So, don’t be alarmed if you start hearing explosions in your neighbourhood at night!
A Familiar Experience with a Caribbean Twist
Whilst Christmas in St Lucia will feel familiar, there is also enough difference to make it a new and exciting experience. You will feel at home with all the decorations, festive joy, parties and fine food and drink, but there is also a Caribbean twist which is fun, thrilling and fascinating to be a part of for the first time.
This should help you to picture what the holiday season is like here, but feel free to contact me if you have any further queries!
Adam Gobat is a renowned expert on the Caribbean, with a passion for its culture, history, people and places. If you're looking to holiday, relocate or even just spend Christmas in St Lucia, he is happy to share his wealth of experience. Adam's indepth local knowledge is key to the marketing and sales of the luxury villas and penthouses in The Landings, one of the most desirable freehold beachfront developments in the Caribbean.
This article is copyright free.