Trinidad and Tobago Christmas
Trinidad and Tobago is known for its vibrant and colourful Christmas celebrations. During the festive season, people host various parties and gatherings, which children and adults attend. The eventful period is marked by people visiting their neighbours and relatives for food, drinks, and good company. The radio stations also play a mix of Trinidadian Christmas carols and songs and traditional and contemporary songs from the United States to add to the festive atmosphere.
One of the highlights of Trinidadian Christmas is a special genre of music called "Parang". It is an upbeat, Venezuela-Trinidad hybrid music, typically sung in Spanish. Nowadays, there is also "soca parang," where songs are sung in English. In the evenings around Christmas, many people enjoy going from house to house singing Christmas songs, known as "Parranderos". The music is accompanied by various instruments, including guitars, violins, cuatros (a small four-stringed guitar), maracas (chac-chacs), and two wooden blocks known as toc-toc. If you sing well, you can expect to be offered some refreshments as a token of appreciation.
Most people take the opportunity to spruce up their homes during Christmas. They paint their houses, make repairs, and hang new curtains and decorations, especially lights, to add to the festive feel. It is also when many people purchase new electrical appliances and furniture.
Most families spend time at home on Christmas Day with friends and family members. The traditional Trinibagonian Christmas meal is usually prepared throughout mid-December and into the new year. The meal typically includes apples and grapes, sorrel, ponche-de-creme (a version of eggnog), ham, turkey, homemade bread, ginger beer, pastelles (a version of tamales), and local wine. Christmas fruitcake is also a staple in most homes, with fruits, such as raisins and sultanas, soaked in cherry wine, sherry, and rum for several months before Christmas!
New Year's Eve is known as "Ole Year's Night" in Trinidad, and people love to let off fireworks to celebrate the coming of the new year. The festivities extend well into the night, with people enjoying the company of friends and family as they bid farewell to the old year and welcome in the new.