Saturday, January 03, 2009

An Old Cayman Christmas

The Christmas season is not over yet, not until the 6th anyway, and until then I intend on posting more of my first Caymanian Christmas. We all know the Christmases of now but at times I wonder how was Christmas celebrated yesteryear, way before my time. At the Crighton House Annual Christmas Display, I got a glimpse of how Christmas was celebrated in the old days here in Cayman. This was easily my favourite display in the massive array of glittering lights and many other little Christmas vignettes. The Old Cayman Christmas vignette features an old style beach house complete with a Grandma sitting in her rocking chair knitting some festive gear. Country Christmas music and a voice over accompanied the display with an explanation of the props that made up this display and of those that did not.

Back in the day Caymanians would decorate their front yards with borders made up of Conch shells. I'd imagine that Christmas ornaments were not easy to come by back then and for obvious reasons, neither were lights, so shells were probably the natural thing to use. Quite pretty actually. They really do lend to that rustic beachy Christmasy feeling.

You will also see an extraordinarily large pickle jar, very reminiscent of the seventies style of crock ware. I especially love this because we had smaller versions of this back in our kitchen, when I was very young. It's comforting to see a such a jar, as it conjures up wonderful memories of moms, grandmas, aunts in the kitchen preparing for feasts surrounded by jars like this. I think we might still have some around.

Placed in front of the pickle jar, you will notice an aluminium pan (pot) which was most likely filled with sand, cow dung, burning wood and the coconut husk you see peeking out of it. This was the old Caymanian remedy for dealing with the then serious mosquito problem on the island.

And I cannot close this post without commenting on the Christmas Tree that peeks through the centre of the home. While it's not your standard imported evergreen tree of today, it is just as close. Besides, isn't a Christmas tree a tree of what you make of it, with your very own ornaments and touches. This is what I'd call a tropical Christmas tree, very much like the one I grew up with.

I am sure there's more, and if you have been privy to an Old Cayman Christmas then please feel free to share.


Solid Snake said...

talking about the christmas trees, they were not common as they are now before, in britain the christmas tree became a tradition when queen victoria married her german cousin prince albert..

Hardy said...

Hello Ms. Cute Pants,
This I ought to tell you.