By Feona Morrison
The Christmas season is most importantly about reflecting on the birth of Jesus Christ. It is also a time for family and other social gatherings, gift gifting, feasting and symbolic decorations.
Christmas is undoubtedly the most wonderful time of the year. And what’s better than having a Guyanese-style Christmas.
In Guyana, the Christmas season usually rings in around October when stores begin displaying tantalizing decorations in their store fronts. Not to be forgotten are the brightly-coloured dolls, police cars, fire trucks and numerous other toys for the children which are bound to appeal to the eyes.
Some housewives wait until this season to purchase new kitchen appliances, sofas, carpets.
Those who could not have afforded to purchase the items cash, opened hire purchase accounts just to steal the show.
Also in November, the radio stations would begin playing Christmas tunes. Songs like “Frostee the Snowman”, “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer” and “Hark The Herald Angels Sings” were bound to put anyone in the Christmas spirit.
Frosty the snowman
Was a jolly happy soul
With a corncob pipe
And a button nose and
Two eyes made out of coal…
Members of the Salvation Army, Masqueraders, drummers and flautists took to the busy streets of Georgetown to solicit monies from passersby. Ringing a bell, the Salvation Army members who possessed something similar to a “puzzling cup” would politely asked for donations of any amount.
Dressed in brightly-coloured clothing, the masquerading men dance to the engaging rhythms. The Masquerade band cause traffic jams as members must receive tips from motorists before they are allowed to carry on.
Regent Street, Georgetown where all the wholesale and retail stores are found is shopping central. Counting down to Christmas, the crowds begin to build up. So large are the crowds, the “pickpockets” could go unnoticed removing your wallet from your pants or handbag.
Here is where the vendors assembled cause much confusion in their effort to sell out their commodities. Some of them shout: “Girls come get yuh curtain rods, yuh fairly lights. They going cheap, cheap, cheap.” Others shout: “Come get yuh meat for the pepperpot. Yuh pork for the garlic pork. Yuh fruits for the black cake.”
Before “putting away” the house as many would refer to it, a little cobwebbing, wiping of the walls and scrubbing of the stairway is done. Some people would even add a fresh coat of paint in some areas. Decorating, including hanging up the fairy lights, putting up the curtains and plaques on the walls and laying the linoleum/carpet on the floor, are annual rituals.
Some persons do the bulk of the decorating on Christmas Eve which would usually run into early Christmas morning when housewives/mothers would be busy preparing the lavish breakfast. This is when all the expensive wares from the cabinet would be taken out – the tea cups, saucers, jugs, and plates to name a few.
Garlic pork, pepperpot, fresh homemade bread, ham and eggs, ginger beer and turkey are among the mouth-watering delicacies to choose from. The Christmas morning breakfast is probably the only time of the year that persons sit around the dining table to eat as a family.
After eating breakfast, it is time to open the gifts and exchange greeting cards. This is the most exciting time for the kids. Apart from the entire Christmas greetings broadcast on the television and radio, a popular Lord Kitchener song heard on Christmas morning goes like this:
Drink a rum and a punch a crema, drink a rum.
Is Christmas morning.
Drink a rum and a punch a crema, drink a rum.
Mama, drink if you drinking!
The Christmas Day lunch which includes baked, stuffed chicken and some sort of fancy rice is followed by dessert – ice cream, a slice of black cake, apples, grapes and walnuts.
Most persons do not leave their homes on Christmas Day, unless it is to go to the Christmas morning service at their respective churches.
With all that said, as we celebrate Christmas today, let us not forget the reason for the season—the Birth of Jesus Christ. His birth is a special and miraculous event. Let us give to the poor and needy without expecting anything in return. Let us be merry and spend time with our loved ones as we reflect on 2017.
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