Caribbean traditions at Easter
Apart from being one of the more popular destinations for those in cold countries seeking escape during the Easter period, the Caribbean has its own ways of making the Easter period fun. From Easter bun and cheese to the Good Friday bobolee, Caribbean Intelligence takes a quick look at the Caribbean at Easter.
- Bun and cheese: The only thing Jamaicans can’t seem to agree on is whose recipe is better. The Jamaican Gleaner reckons that Easter bun and cheese is as much a part of the Jamaican Easter experience as attending church. The website Jamaicans.com states that the British hot cross bun tradition morphed into a bun made with molasses, instead of honey. The result is the spicy fruitcake/ sweet bread bun, eaten with cheese in the Easter holiday period.
- Trinidad’s bobolees: The bobolee in question represents Judas. The effigy, usually made from old clothes and stuffed with dried grass, used to be more widely seen around Trinidad, allowing people (Christians and non Christians alike) to give it a good beating. The Trinidadian sense of humour, best known in its calypsos, often kicks in with a satirical or political point made in a sign around the bobolee’s neck.
Trinidad’s CNews channel shows how it’s done in this 2011 video:
- Trinis are partial to a bit of kite-flying at Easter, while other parts of the Caribbean also embrace the tradition of flying high (in a legal way) during the Easter period.
- Barbados has the tradition of the Easter bonnet parade. During the Easter period, there’s no end of cute small Bajans striking a pose with their handiwork. For adult Bajans, the wearing of new clothes is also something of a tradition, so be prepared for the Barbados catwalk experience.
- Although Cuba outlawed Christian worship until 1988 and the first Easter services in 50 years took place in 2012, Cubans have moved warmly to embrace Catholic celebrations since then. Good Friday is once again a national holiday and Semana Santa continues to grow in popularity.
- Cubans in Miami’s Little Havana reportedly go mad for bacalao, their traditional saltfish. In true Christian tradition, the usual fare of Cuban pork is shunned for numerous bacalao recipes.
Across the Caribbean, similar experiences can be found – from complaints about the price of fish ahead of Good Friday to the balancing of beach limes with church commitments during the Easter weekend. Wherever you are this Easter, enjoy!
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By Jabari Fraser