12 Bajan Christmas Traditions

12 Bajan Christmas Traditions

Tis the season for Christmas Traditions! Imagine sipping on sorrel under a coconut tree listening to a tropical remix of your favourite Christmas carols (listen to some here). Here is a look at 12 Bajan Christmas Traditions. 



1. Christmas Ham

Pineapple and cherry glazed baked ham is a must on the Christmas dinner table. So much so that December has been named National ham season in Barbados. Click here for the recipe for a Bajan baked ham.


2. Jug Jug 

Jug Jug is a traditional Bajan dish made mostly of mashed pigeon peas in a meat, bone, herbs and spices broth. It pairs perfectly with the baked ham. Click here for the recipe for a taste of Christmas in Barbados.


3. Great Cake

Great Cake, Black Cake, Rum Cake or Christmas Cake, this Bajan dessert is known by many names. The cake is similar to Christmas Figgy Pudding with the addition of Bajan rum. To make the cake you soak the cherries, raisins, prunes and other fruit in rum for about a week before you begin to bake. The final product is a Christmas favourite enjoyed by all. Click here for the recipe.



4. Sorrel

Sorrel is the traditional Christmas drink in Barbados. This refreshing red drink is festive and floral! The drink contains, dried sorrel, cloves, orange zest, fresh ginger, sugar and water. At Christmas you might add a splash of Mount Gay Rum. Click here for the recipe.


5. Punch-A-Cream

Step aside Eggnog – in Barbados it is all about the Punch-A-Cream! This festive favorite is best enjoyed with your go-to dark spiced Bajan rum. Listen to this classic calypso song called ‘Drink a Rum and A Punch-A-Cream’ while you try making it at home. Click here for the recipe.


6. Christmas Punch

Rum, cranberry juice and your favorite local citrus fruits. What is a Christmas party without the punch bowl? Bajan families enjoy shared meals and drinks over the holiday season. Click here for the recipe.


7. Carols by Candlelight

There is magic in gathering and singing Christmas Carols by candlelight – a tradition common around the world. Carols by Candlelight Barbados is held at the Prime Ministers house Ilaro Court annually. This year, due to COVID restrictions, Carols by Candlelight will be held virtually at the Globe Drive In. Click here to see more details on Carols by Candlelight 2020.


8. Christmas Lights

Bridgetown, the capital of Barbados is lit up for Christmas like other capital cities around the world. Blue and yellow lights turn on November 1st in Barbados for the month of our Independence. On December 1st the lights are changed out for red and green Christmas colours. Schools and their students are invited to decorate Christmas trees in Heroes Square, Bridgetown, right in front the parliament buildings. Roundabouts island wide are also decorated and lit in festive colours. Worth a drive around the island at night!


9. Christmas Markets

Farmers’ markets, businesses and community members are known to hold ‘Pop- Up Christmas Markets’ leading up to Christmas Day. You can find crafts, gift ideas, and fresh produce available for sale. The set-up is a lot less extravagant than Christmas Markets across Europe, but it’s a good opportunity for local entrepreneurs to show case their products and services and for Bajans to support local when Christmas shopping and visitors to take home a handcrafted piece of Barbados. Be sure to check out the Holder’s Farmers Market or Brighton Farmers Market while visiting Barbados.



MUST KNOW – Bajan Traditions

10. Queens Park on Christmas Day

Bajans of all ages gather to stroll through Queen’s Park in fine fashion. The men wear suits tailored just for the event, and the ladies are dressed in ball gowns. Some families show up with matching outfits while others celebrate their African roots with creative patterns. This tradition has become so popular that it is aired on TV and the best dressed are featured on the front page of the newspaper the next day. Patrons enjoy live entertainment including carols by the Barbados Police Band.


11.  Sprucing Up Home for the Holiday

In Barbados, Christmas is the time to refresh your home. Many people take the time to go through their closets to donate to the less fortunate or give their home a fresh coat of paint. It’s the time to change out your cushion covers and curtains and give the home a fresh feel heading into the New Year.


12. Gravesite Visits 

Christmas is family time. In Barbados it is customary for families to gather at gravesites of their lost ones to clean their greaves, add fresh flowers and share memories and maybe a shot of rum or two. Fun Fact – there is a rum shop next to every grave site in Barbados.


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