Many people must wonder what Christmas would be like in a tropical paradise - with 82 degree weather year round. Well, let me share a bit of what it's like. I think you'll be surprised if you haven't experienced Christmas "Cruzian Style."
First of all - there is WONDERFUL soca Christmas music playing (dare I say blaring) from every store, car, even in the Post Office. People are sometimes spotted dancing in the aisle at Kmart - and I must admit - I shook a leg at the post office with this older Cruzian man behind me in line! It is wonderful and just makes you so happy to hear it! Some of the songs are "traditional" Christmas songs, just spiced up with a soca beat!
Music is really central here, and there are bands and concerts galore during the season, which starts at Thanksgiving and goes till mid January, best I can tell. One of the most special things that happens is to see (and better yet hear) Stanley and the Ten Sleepless Knights ride thru your neighborhood playing those great Christmas tunes - at 4:00 a.m.! The band is set up on a truck and several different neighborhoods are designated for their route - and they start at 4:00 and finish up around 7:00 a.m. As they ride by, everyone comes out in their jammies and follows the truck - so by the time it gets to town - there's a street party going on!!! It jams up traffic - but no one seems to care. This is a LONG TIME tradition here - and Stanley is a Christmas Icon on the island (and other times too).
And yes, the streets and stores and homes are decorated for Christmas. It is a bit odd to see snowmen (those blow up kind) in the yards - but it's fun! And parades, food fairs, competitions, galore. This time of year, the guavaberry is in season, and homemade guavaberry wine is a hot item. There are even competitions to see who makes the best! No losers here!! Also, Coquito is our version of "eggnog" (Much better, by the way)!! It's got Rum in it, of course, and is delicious! Kind of like Baileys Irish Cream, only better! And it comes in flavors, too - Chocolate and Coconut in addition to "regular." Yum!
One of the most fun things is the donkey races - another long time tradition here! Hilarious!! Grown men and woman riding atop those stubborn animals (or trying to, anyway).
And then there are the Tramps. These start at 4:00 a.m. too, and involve walking and gryating (there is a band on a truck that everyone is following) down the street until morning... It's a celebration of J'ouvert - and it is lots of fun.
Many of us "transplants" are here with no family - which can be a bit sad. Not to worry - we all get together with friends on the beach, decorate the palm trees, bring food and have great fun!
Come join us - I help make dreams come true!
p.s. Soca Music is a style of calypso, and Tramps are groups of happy people walking, always to music. J'ouvert (pronounced "juuvay") is a large street party during Carnival (which starts soon).