Monday, December 3, 2012

I'll Have a Blue Christmas!

As a lifelong Minnesotan, the only Christmas I'm familiar with is a 'White Christmas'.  Over the weekend I heard Elvis' rendition of 'Blue Christmas' and it was stuck.  One of those tunes that you can't get rid of and find it stuck in your head for hours!  Silently singing it to yourself, singing it loud and proud, humming it, over and over again! Very frustrating indeed - especially for someone who is not a big fan of Elvis.  (I know, it's hard to believe I don't like Elvis - I don't like the Beatles either - but let's stay on task here!)

It got me thinking...lots of people experience the season of Christmas without the white and I did a little investigating.  Following are some of the customs of popular places we head to when we want to escape the white and get into some blue!  The blue of the Caribbean Seas!
Junkanoo in the Bahamas!

Bahamas - How do they celebrate? Junkanoo!  Junkanoo is a Bahamian festival that occurs during the early morning hours of December 26 and the early morning hours of New Years Day.  It's a street parade, similar to the Mardi Gras of New Orleans, with colorful costumes, street dancing, and contests for the best music, costumes and best overall fun! Best thing about it?  Everyone is included!

Puerto Rico - A traditional favorite of Puerto Ricans is to gather at one another's door and sing holiday tunes while playing musical instruments.  We call it caroling...they call it Parrandas!

Cayman Islands - Those that feel it's just not Christmas if it isn't white can head to the Cayman Islands. Here local tradition calls for "backing sand" which is bringing buckets of white sand from local beaches and spreading it around their yards and homes to stand in for a snowy welcome for Santa.  The older I get, the more I'm liking that kind of white Christmas!
Traditional carols with a
reggae vibe - ya mon!

Jamaica - Shopaholics will love spending Christmas in Jamaica where the way to celebrate is with the Grand Market traditionally starting on Christmas Eve and running through Christmas Day.  Reggae music lovers will love the traditional songs sung to a reggae beat.

Costa Rica -Bright, tropical flowers are the star of the Christmas season in Costa Rica. The pasito (nativity scene) is decorated with wild orchids that bloom in the tropical jungle areas and colorful fresh fruit. Some of these scenes are family projects that take weeks to set up and can take up an entire room!

Belize -A holiday favorite in Belize is a rum-and-eggnog concoction called "rum popo" made with cinnamon, raisins and at least a pint of rum! Yum!  And if you're a 'birder', you might find yourself here for the annual Audubon Society Christmas Bird Count, a bird census performed throughout the Americas.

Mexico - The classic Poinsettia plant originated in Mexico and now it graces many a Christmas table worldwide!  Legend has it that a little boy named Pablo was walking to a shrine in his village to see baby Jesus and had nothing to offer the child. Having seen greenish branches that grew everywhere, he collected them and laid them on the manter though other children teased him. But to the surprise of others, red-shaped flowers soon appeared on each branch and the poinsettia was born!

Regardless if your preference for Christmas is blue or white, the general pastime remains the same around the world.  Spending time with family and friends.  Celebrating old Holiday traditions or starting new ones.  That is the most valued gift of all.

Until next time...

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