Christmas Spirit in Barbados: No Snow Req’d

Christmas Spirit in Barbados: No Snow Req’d

When I moved to Barbados nearly three years ago, Christmas felt like an unnatural act. To a Yank from northern climes, Christmas is supposed to feel like … Christmas.

But with Barbados’ perfect Groundhog-Day climate, Christmas felt no different from Memorial Day from Independence Day from First Day of School from the Day Big B Grocery Ran Out of Diet Coke.

 Barbados' Christmas Bazaar

Mary J. Cozier's gorgeous Christmas balls were on display at Barbados' Christmas Bazaar.

However, after three years, Christmas in Barbados actually feels Christmas-y to me. Why? Because Christmas no longer means what it’s always meant to me: c-c-c-ccold; lavishly decorated store windows; winter boots, scarves, and ear muffs; malls.

Christmas now means Barbadians who live abroad coming home; a subtle cool breeze beneath warm days; the Caribbean Sea dropping a degree or two (but still warm!); festive lights strung up; Barbadians re-painting their homes (a charming annual national obsession); and foods like sorrel, ham, jug, and pigeon peas.

Barbados christmas fair

Beautiful hand-made jewelry at the Christmas Bazaar

This morning friends joined Greg and me at a Christmas bazaar on the south coast of the island where craftspeople sold wreaths and Christmas tree decorations; children’s clothing emblazoned with familiar cartoon characters themselves dressed in holiday-themed clothes; beautiful hand-made jewelry; and foods such as ginger-spiked fudge and rum-spiked orange marmalade.

It’s nearly Christmas and I’m in the spirit!  How about you??

7 Responses to “Christmas Spirit in Barbados: No Snow Req’d”

  1. Greg says:

    Of course, there’s also Christmas morning in Queen’s Park, where people get fully dressed in their finest and promenade around during the “forenoon”.

  2. ac says:

    What a gawd happy feeling. Black cake my favourite and jug jug. I love the presents

  3. Cookie says:

    my first christmas here, in our old neighborhood, we had a tuk band come by for some rum (and cash i think) bright and early christmas morning. they are pretty common in trinidad but made me smile my first christmas sans cold weather.

  4. Cookie, I’m glad you mentioned the festive and fun Tuk band .. so fun! I saw my first one on Dover Beach a year or so ago and again yesterday at an event at the George Washington House here in Barbados.

    For those who don’t know, a Tuk band is a roving band that plays a trio of rhythms using a kettle drum, bass drum and penny whistle. They start off with a slow waltz like rhythm, then the band steps up to a march rhythm, and the trio ends with a distinctive fast African beat, according to BarbadosTravel. It was originated by Barbadian slaves who came to Barbados in the 1600s.

    The BarbadosTravel site tells us that the Tuk Band is accompanied by characters that are African in origin. African tribes used costumed figures to represent elements such as fertility, witch doctors, and describing routes of commercial transportation, as well as having survived difficult times.

  5. Bim Girl says:


    I was just searching the internet for Bajan holiday recipes and came upon a site on which Bajans left comments about Christmases past. I think it is interesting. Maybe others will think so too. I hope the link works.

  6. Greg says:

    That is a great link, and yes, it worked fine!

  7. BimGirl, thank you for this link to such sweet recollections of Christmases past in Barbados. The smells and foods and traditions from our past are truly part of who we become as adults, aren’t they? Some recollections made me laugh, like kids getting a buzz from mom’s black cake soaked in rum. Or getting sick two Christmases in a row and not being able to eat any of the delicious food. There are so many tender recollections … tears came to my eyes as I read! Here’s the link again, for anyone wanting to take a peek inside a Barbadian home at Christmastime 🙂 Thank you, BimGirl!

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