Seasonal Customs And Traditions


CHRISTMAS within the island neighbours is a wonderful time to enjoy the seasonal customs and traditions which emerge.

The origin of this worldly celebration varies but one thing remains clear – Christmas signals the highlight of commercial activity, family gatherings, decorating and feasting on “once-a-year meals”.

Early references to Christmas from the second century indicate that it was a harvest festival which signified the winter solstice – the return of the sun- and yearly exhaltation of Saturn (the god of sowing).

Today Christmas, for many, is the time to look forward to a thorough cleaning of the house, and eating without no regard for health. In Dominica, the solo is a narrative which is similar to that which occurs in Saint Lucia. Members of the board would collect personal stories or famous gossip lines during the year and turn them into catchy choruses: the location of the village’s parliament, the girl who terrorized her boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend over the phone and lied about it, the most critical case of GrosPwel, the girl who got pregnant to “trap her man” and the evil workings of the certified obeah woman.

In Martinique, “Festival de Cantiques de Noel” and other festivals will usher in the Christmas Season. The Christmas aura emerges at the end of November in Guadeloupe with singing of carols. The songs sung are mostly to the rhythms of biguine and the mazurka. Throughout the island neighbours, chefs emerge – creating tasty treats- black cake and sorrel in Dominica, pork ragout with Congo peas in Martinique and sautéed in Guadeloupe.

The Nature Isle is the life of the party this Christmas. It’s December and this is the perfect time to re-establish the monthly birthday bash activities. First stop – Riverstone Bar and Grill. On December 20, it’s time to celebrate another birthday if you’re a December child. Great food, great company, great music …what a way to usher in another birthday! Elsewhere on December 22 Alliance Francaise de la Dominique presents Soireé de Noël from 6:30p.m. Performances from various artistes are expected at this event – including a performance from MeemeeNelzy from Guadeloupe. The event is open to the public.


Let’s Go Shopping
Calling all shopaholics! Discover a place where the mysteries of the environment transform into tasty, West Indian treats – Caribbean Magic Spice. Located in Roseau Dominica, this locally-owned shop boasts of over 100 exotic and local spices. These include local honey, teas, vanilla and cocoa. Purchase a few of these to add to your collection at home or to “whip up” some West Indian-inspired confectionary; fudge, jam, guava cheese or tablèt. If liquor is your thing, bwabandé and locally produced rum punches with added fruits are available. Ask about a recipe and create something sweet, spicy and scrumptious during your free time. Live a little!

Historical note! Did you know that small counter shops in Martinique are referred to as “lo-lo”? Statistics from the U.S. Department of Agriculture reveal nearly 800 lo-los in Martinique and 300 in Guadeloupe. Moreover, many varieties of confectionary can be found in these shops. Get to know your neighbours!

A bit of the French for the Visitor
I have to go grocery shopping – Je dois faire les provisions
We need milk, eggs, and bread – Il nous faut du lait, des oeufs et du pain
I like that one- J’aimecelui-la
Thank you, I am just looking – Merci, je ne faisqueregarder
I am looking for a red skirt – Je chercheunejupe rouge
Can I return this item? – Puis-je retournercet article
These watches are expensive -Cesmontressontcheres
Can I pay in cash or via credit card – Puis-je payer comptantou par carte de credit

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