Friday 22 February, 2019

A view from the outside: Nothing like Christmas in Jamaica

Junkanoo celebrants during Christmas in Kingston, Jamaica in 1975. (Wikipedia)

Junkanoo celebrants during Christmas in Kingston, Jamaica in 1975. (Wikipedia)

                                                                  With Karyl Walker

I, along with thousands of other Jamaicans who live outside the country, am vex right now.

As we say in Jamaica, “Mi Bex”.

I am sore because, for yet another Christmas, I am outside my country and will not be able to enjoy the delectable fare, the parties and all the other trappings that come with a real, old time Jamaican Christmas.

I miss Aunt Sissy’s ginger beer. She always put a special effort into it. The sugar cane was soaked in a pudding pan and that ginger beer was HOT. Her sorrel was always worth travelling miles to enjoy. This will be the first Christmas that Aunt Sissy is no longer with us and things will never be the same.

For Joyce Victorine Ricketts, Christmas was a special time and that has carried over to me. I look forward to this time of year regardless of my religious views or lack thereof.

Truth be told, I miss the green gungo rice and peas soaked in coconut milk, which was gratered most times by my cousin Garnet. At my bidding, they ceased putting pig's tail in the rice and peas because I and I a Rastafari. When Aunt Sissy baked her cake, I was the first in line to lick the residue from the pudding pan. Oh my, for those times to return.

Aunt Sissy was a Christian, so sadly, no rum was in her sorrel, however, the ginger could not be missed.

Then there were times when I got older and linked up at the bar with the unholy triumvirate, Mark Wignall, Michael Gordon and myself. Then I would also link with Julian ‘Short Boss’ Richardson – the Loop content manager and my good friend Marlon ‘Bigz’ Reid. Then there was Karl Steadman, Bobby Porter, Schoolboy, Judge, Charles, Bennett, Bliney, Dudds, Troubles, Richie Bernard and so much more good friends.

Nothing can compare to those times.

I miss Jamaica, the camaraderie, the vibes, everything.

Christmas is a special time. I remember the Joonkunu, the Grand Market, fry fish, potato salad, starlight, clappers and so much more. There is nothing that can compare to Christmas in Ja.

Jamaicans, you are lucky. Let’s treasure the country we were born in and protect it. Our culture is special.

Have a Irie, Irie Christmas in the sun cause this year Santa Clause is coming to the ghetto and him nah hitch up inna no mango tree.

Love you Jamaica.

Karyl Walker is a multi-award-winning journalist who has worked for Loop Jamaica, the Jamaica Observer, the RJR Communications Group and Nationwide Radio among other media entities. He now resides in South Florida.

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