Parang Songs Make Christmas Special In Grenada
Most people have childhood memories of Christmas as it is a time when families and communities come together for celebrations and fun. Though associated with Christians, Christmas has now grown from a purely Christian holiday meant to celebrate the birth of Jesus to a holiday with wider secular importance.
Every country has its unique way of celebrating the Christmas holiday, and the Island of Grenada is no exception. This small tri-island nation in the Caribbean has Christmas traditions quite similar to those of other islands, but it is also unique in its ways. Below are some of the common Christmas traditions in Grenada.
People in Grenada value Christmas cleaning as they expect family members and friends to visit their homes during the period. You will find people cleaning their houses, yards and gardens some days before the Christmas date. Some houses will be lucky enough to get some renovations around this period, and people will go shopping for new clothes for the festive season.
Christmas Eve Shopping
Every year, most people do their big Christmas shopping December 24th. The streets are full of pop up Christmas vendors and groups of customers since most people go shopping as a family. Food markets are also full of activities because it is on this day that people will buy most of the ingredients for the Christmas meal and the gifts that they will give to their friends and family.
People will most likely complain about the crowded streets, but they will still do their shopping on that day the following year.
Grenadians love sharing special food as extended families during Christmas. Many of the dishes will have several spices that are rarely used in “normal-time” meals.
Christmas ham and Black fruit cake are common additions to the menu and served in most homes during Christmas. This cake is made from dried fruit soaked in local rum for two to three months. Other Christmas meals include rice, macaroni pie, baked stuff turkey, plus refreshments like ponch-de-crème, ginger beer and sorrel tea.
The Christmas masquerades are a common tradition in Grenada. The parades happen in the street and are led by Masquerade bands in colourful costumes, including traditional masks. The music in these street parties is mostly interactive music accompanied by dance.
The costumes and masks choice is mostly scary as they are meant to scare children and entertain the crowds in the streets. The group will sing and dance for some time, and their leader later uses his hat to collect some money from the onlookers before they move to another location.
Parang songs are a popular genre in Grenada during the Christmas season. Parang in main island involves groups of singers go around singing in the neighbourhoods. This is different from the smaller island of Carriacou where it is in the form of a contest. Singers in Grenada also use instruments like guitars, tambourines and anything else that can add flavour to the music.
The difference between Parang songs in Grenada and the songs in Trinidad and Tobago is that Grenadians sing in English instead of Spanish. The music is played on a variety of instruments, including drums, tambourine, Saxophones, maracas guitars and guitars other string instruments.
Just like other parts of the world, Christians in Grenada go for midnight Christmas church services. After church service, some people call their friends and family members who did not come home to wish them the best for the festive season and the the coming year.
External decorations are not common in Grenada, but most families have Christmas trees —which can either be pine trees purchased from the forest or artificial trees. The tree gets a spacious location in the living room before it is decorated with lights, ribbons and baubles. The trees will stay in the house until the first week of January.