Christmas in my home country, Trinidad and Tobago is celebrated in its own special way. The people are generally warm and friendly so it is normal to wish persons you may encounter, “compliments of the season” or “seasons greetings”. It is the norm to visit the homes of family, friends and neighbours, then they in turn pay a visit to your house on another day. Known as “paranging” people often move in large groups going from house to house so it is possible to visit a stranger’s house if you are going with a group of your friends who may be visiting their own family, friends or neighbours as well. Although the tradition seems to be dying, some families still do upkeep this way of life.
The choice of music played during this time is “Parang” or “Soca Parang” which is a mix of the traditional Christmas Carols being sung over on a Soca beat along with various musical instruments. Soca music which was invented in Trinidad and Tobago and can be heard throughout the year especially at carnival, is only one of the many things it is popularly known for.
What I love most about Christmas:
- Gift giving.
- Preparation of food and drinks synonymous with the season such as Ham & Turkey.
- The availability of dessert and snacks such that are not popular out of season such as black fruit cake, sweetbread, pastelle just to name a few.
- The festive feeling when decorating, cleaning and remodelling of the house.
- Music – listening to traditional Christmas Carols and Parang.
- Going from house to house visiting homes of friends, family and close neighbours.