Saturday, December 17, 2005


Christmas-The Vincentian way

The election is over and reluctantly(it seems) the island is gearing up for Christmas and all the trimmings that accompany it.Like most everywhere people spend a lot of money on gifts and household items.Now is also the time when you see a lot of barrels coming mainly from the US being transported to homes.

But in St Vincent you know that Christmas is really here when the Nine Mornings festival begins.Nine Mornings is a festival where the nine days before Christmas are celebrated nation wide with activities ranging from parties,church services,going to the beach,bike riding,cook outs or just general liming(hanging out).

The interesting bit about this festival is that all the activities begin around 2 am daily,with Sundays being omitted.I am not sure of the origins of the festival-some claim that it originated in the days of slavery when slaves from different plantations would meet in the wee hours of the morning (around Cmas time)and have various activities.For obvious reasons I tend to disbelieve that any plantation owner would feel comfortable with slaves congregating,so that could only be a myth.

Anyway,Nine Mornings of today lacks the spontaneity associated with days gone by.I don't have much of a reference because of my youth but I definitely remember the fetes from the various night spots.When I was younger we lived fairly close to a night club and I would be awakened by the music or I would awake to family members returning home.That particular club no longer has the fetes as far as I know but am told that in some other areas it still happens.

Nowadays,there are organised activities in Kingstown spearheaded by the Dept of Culture complete with a daily programme.While,am a bit saddenned about the lack of spontaneity it is still great that the festival is being kept alive so that another generation of vincentians and visitors as well can enjoy our culture.Now it is more of a family event with something on the programme for every age.

I went into Kingstown this morning and it was really good with great performances by the Avenue dancers,Hairoun Theatre etc.There was even a Kids spot where the MC interacted with the children and got them to come on stage and perform.Even though it was a bit chilly(yes it gets a bit chilly in the Cbean too)it was worth getting up that early.

I really enjoy hearing about other traditions. I think I'm spending this Christmas dinner eating Vegetarian Indian food.
Glad that at least the Govt is not letting the cultural tradition slip away. Enjoy the season and drink a Vincentian beer for me!
2 am... wow that's early. Sounds like so much fun though! Ottawa's boring during Christmas time... all we had was a Santa Parade, and it was on November 26th (I say, if it isn't in December, it shouldn't even count as a Christmas parade). Where's our festival?!
The new trdition here in Jamaica, is the twelve daysmadness festival. Yes, everyone heads out t shop and the traffic becomes unbarable. It is literally easier to walk than to drive at this time of the year.
dont talk about barrels. in barbados there is such a backlog of barrels coming in around christmas that some dont even get cleared till february
I agree w/sabledawn, I love hearing about other traditions to.
Happy holidays to you!
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