“The holidays are the perfect time for a no-worries escape and to experience our distinctive way of celebrating here in Jamaica,” said Director of Tourism, Jamaica Tourist Board, Donovan White. “It is important for us to provide authentic experiences to travelers, and we are inviting everyone who wants to join in our festivities and expand their understanding of Jamaica’s culture and history.”
Throughout the season, Jamaicans celebrate in ways that highlight their famed warm, friendly culture and laid-back island vibe. Travelers can listen to reggae bands playing both traditional and folk songs at beach bonfires, at hotels or on the street. Many accommodations, restaurants and street vendors offer up Jamaican holiday food and beverages, such as chocolate tea or a refreshing sorrel drink.
Decorations from snowmen made of sand to Christmas trees decked out in Jamaican colors can be found at every turn, adding an extra special dose of cheer.
On Christmas Eve, celebrations include the traditional Grand Market, or “Gran Market” as a Jamaican would call it, as vendors set up shop in main squares. Grand Market is held in major towns across the island, and all are invited to join the community in this bountiful market-style shopping experience. Travelers can also see brightly decorated homes draped with “pepper lights” while enjoying the sounds of Jamaican Christmas carols.
On Christmas day, visitors can experience a traditional Jamaican Christmas dinner of holiday staples including ham shoulder, gungo peas with rice and curried goat, with fruit cake soaked in rum for dessert. It is custom to pair this meal with sorrel, the designated Christmas drink, made with hibiscus.
The celebration doesn’t stop there, as the famous Junkanoo street parade, originating from Jamaica’s rich African heritage, takes place the day after Christmas. Through the streets of every town and village, the communities dress in extravagant costumes, highlighting popular characters including the Belly Woman, The Horse Head, and ‘Pitchy Patchy’ to name a few.
“There’s something for everyone to enjoy during the holidays in Jamaica and that includes a wide variety of accommodations ranging from boutique inns to grand all-inclusive hotels to suit every budget,” said White. “If folks are looking for a holiday experience beyond the ordinary, we’ve got it here.”
To learn more about what to do and where to stay on island this winter, visit jamaica.com.