West Bay, 21 December 1996
Seasonís Greetings from the Cayman Islands!
Christmas is a fascinating time in Cayman and presents a splendid opportunity
to learn a bit about the island traditions and history. For instance, although
Santa Claus is a well-known figure to Caymanian children, he arrives here by airplane
or by boat, instead of in a sleigh. And since there are no chimneys in Cayman,
he enters Caymanian homes by more ordinary means.
It is customary at Christmas time to clean and rake the sand yards that are still
to be seen in Cayman and carry or "back" fresh sand from the beach to be spread in
the yard. This symbolizes a fresh start to the New Year and reminds us of snow.
Instead of the ham and turkey that most folks associate with a Christmas dinner nowadays,
many Caymanians still cook fresh beef and pork together in the same pot for their Christmas
feast. Fresh meat was considered a rare treat in days gone by, and there are those who
still say that nothing tastes as good as this Christmas treat.
Caroling also had a different twist in olden day Cayman. It was called marching,
and large groups of people would gather to go singing from door to door, but the songs
they sang were not necessarily Christmas carols! Instead, they sang whatever songs
everyone in the group knew, and they were frequently accompanied by an accordion, maracas,
and a tambourine.
A more recent tradition in Cayman is the lavish display of Christmas lights.
There is an annual competition involving several different categories with prizes in each.
The displays get more extravagant each year, as residents vie for the honor of being chosen
as the best in their category. Some of the private displays include animated figures and
intricate scenery, as well as the lights, and are truly amazing. Itís astounding what can
be done with lights, and we are very innovative and creative here in Cayman! You really
have to see the displays to believe them!
All in all, itís a wonderful time of year to be in Cayman!
In addition to these essays, the wench also posts frequent short writings about her
View from West Bay.
Check out the latest post!