A Christmas Vacation In Barbados!
There are few better ways to escape a cold winter, than to take a vacation in Barbados at Christmas time! As a mainly Christian society, Christmas is an important tradition on the island and Barbados is an extra special place to visit during the holiday season.
The Christmas and New Year period in Barbados is also the peak tourist season, so you’re guaranteed action, excitement, and a whole lot of culture. Christmas is also a time when many Barbadians living overseas return home to celebrate with family and friends, so be sure to book your ticket early!
The Lead Up To Christmas
Barbados starts warming up its Christmas festivities towards the end of November, when you’ll notice Christmas music on the local radio stations. You’ll hear all the classics, and some Caribbean Christmas songs in the mix too.
By December, the Christmas countdown is really on and Barbados comes alive with Christmas cheer.
Christmas preparations for most Barbadians usually start with a huge spruce up of their homes. Many Bajans use the Christmas holidays to get new furniture, varnish the floors, polish the chairs, and put up new curtains. Christmas decorations also go up in most Bajan homes, alongside the customary Christmas tree.
From early December, you’ll notice the local roundabouts lit up with red and green Christmas lights, and many of the main buildings and streets in Bridgetown are also decorated for the festive season. You’ll hear Christmas music in most stores in town, which have extended Christmas opening hours, so you’re sure to pick up a bargain in the Christmas sales.
In mid-December, you can experience the Barbados Cancer Society Float Parade throughout the streets of Bridgetown, which features colourful festive costumes and decorated trucks with plenty of Christmas music to enjoy.
Also in mid-December is the annual Rotary Club of Barbados Carols by Candlelight, hosted in the beautiful gardens of Ilaro Court, the residence of the Barbadian Prime Minister.
In fact, there’s is a whole smorgasbord of Christmas concerts held throughout the entire month of December at churches, parks and various venues across the island. Two of the most popular are the world-renowned Christmas Jazz, and the Carols at the Abbey at St. Nicholas Abbey.
How Do Barbadians Celebrate Christmas?
Christmas Eve is an important cooking day in the Bajan Christmas calendar, when most of the food for Christmas Day is prepared. Many Barbadians also go to church on Christmas Eve for Midnight Mass, with St. Michael’s Cathedral being one of the most popular churches to visit.
Like most countries throughout the world, Christmas Day in Barbados is celebrated on December 25th as a national holiday honouring the birth of Jesus Christ.
On Christmas Day, most Barbadians again go to church for a Christmas morning service at one of the island’s historic local churches. After church, hundreds of locals and visitors venture to Christmas in Queen’s Park, one of the most anticipated events of the Barbadian holiday season. Everyone dresses up in their finest to enjoy music from the Royal Barbados Police Force Band, as well as other music and cultural entertainment, before going home to a hearty Christmas lunch.
The Bajan Christmas Menu
Just because you’re celebrating Christmas away from home, doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the traditional Christmas trimmings!
Traditional Christmas lunch in Barbados usually consists of dishes like green peas and rice, baked chicken and turkey, pork, glazed ham, roast beef, lamb, and ‘jug jug‘. No Bajan Christmas table is complete without this dish of pigeon peas combined with salt meat, minced pork, guinea corn, onions, butter and herbs, all cooked into a pudding. And, Christmas in Barbados always includes ‘great cake/black cake‘, a Christmas dessert similar to traditional fruit cake but with the added infamous Bajan dark rum.
Drinking sorrel is also a Bajan Christmas tradition. This deep red juice can be served on ice or also with Barbadian rum. Christmas sorrel was originally homemade, but it can now also be purchased commercially on the island.
Many Bajan locals spend Boxing Day having family picnics, hosting or going to parties, or taking a drive to admire the Christmas lights and decorations all over the island.
On Boxing Day, it is also traditional for families to attend the annual Stakes and Trophy horse race held at the Garrison Savannah, and it’s a great way to complete your traditional Christmas in Barbados.
What are you waiting for? See you in Barbados next Christmas!
Author: Brett Callaghan