As I’m far from home and much-loved traditions, I wasn’t sure how to feel about Christmas 2012. Although I refused to accept the fallacy that Christmas couldn’t possibly be Christmas without snow (have you seen a map of the world recently?), it still took me a while to get into the spirit of it. A night of enthusiastic chanté nweling which included copious amounts of Christmas ham, followed by a Saturday morning wake-up to a pile of presents and cards all with my name on (thanx peeps!!) got me thinking…
1) Family. I’m from a stereotypically Caribbean family as a Trini friend enlightened me once. I thought she meant in reference to raucously loud get togethers of very loving, proud black people convening for any occasion; Christenings, birthdays, graduations, weddings, or funerals. But according to her, it was having more than 20 first cousins. ‘Have them?’ I can name and tell stories about growing up with them!! Continue reading →
As a recent emigré, this time of year has the potential to be the hardest. Despite subjection to some notoriously painful Christmas do’s with colleagues, I love the Christmas season. Christmas spirit for me is all about quality time, ideally spent at Christmas dinners, drinks and parties; with friends, family, food, laughter and good vibes, all in huge quantities. A good few thousand miles away from home however, forgive me if I was more than a little slower than usual in getting into the Christmas spirit this year. Thankfully, round here the Christmas vibes are no different even if the unchanged climate seems unsettling at first. I definitely enjoy the party; it’s called chanté nwèl, literally ‘singing Christmas’, which conveys the idea of a vibrant, musical personified Christmas perfectly.
Chanté nwèl, is basically carol singing. But that doesn’t do it justice. Continue reading →