Easter in Jamaica is a wonderful celebration. For some countries, Easter is a pleasant long weekend that passes without much fuss. In Jamaica, however, Easter is a time of great celebration.
The Easter weekend is the only four-day weekend in the year, with Good Friday and Easter Monday as official holidays.
Religious Christian Jamaicans will head to church for worship. If you haven’t been to a Jamaican church, you’re missing out. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a livelier environment to celebrate the holiday!
Easter is family time, and heading to the beach is a popular outing. You might find parades and kite-flying.
Black River holds the annual St. Elizabeth Horticultural Show on Easter Monday. It is one of the biggest and best flower shows on the island, and draws crowds of people. The show features fruits, vegetables and herbs produced in St. Elizabeth. Local artist, Mike Wallace, brings the show to life with his installations.
The culinary tradition of Jamaican Easter has deep roots in history, and is downright tasty. The usual choice for Good Friday is Escovitch fish, a dish of fried red snapper with tart, spicy and slightly sweet sauce and vegetables.
The tastiest Jamaican Easter tradition is the dish of “bun and cheese.” This tradition has its origins in ancient Babylon; hot cross buns are thought to have been offered to Ishtar, the pagan queen of heaven. Similar cakes were made by ancient Greeks to honor the Moon. The tradition of baked goods as offerings to deities made its way to England, where cross buns were made and consumed on Good Friday with the cross understood as a symbol of the crucifixion.
When the British captured Jamaica, they brought the cross bun custom to the island. The Jamaicans put their twist on the English cross bun by using molasses in the mix instead of honey. The small, light, English bun morphed into a large, wholesome, dense, fruit-filled bun, shaped like a loaf of bread. It is traditionally eaten with a chunk of Jamaican cheese that comes in a tin. This cheese is pasteurized and processed with a flavour similar to cheddar.
Easter in Jamaica is a beautiful time. Jamaicans have continued Easter traditions that echo the past, and that capture the hearts of tourists. My family enjoys the culinary tradition; I enjoy the bun and cheese custom, while my husband enjoys the curried goat.
Experience Easter in Jamaica yourself. Book the Buccaneer Villa at Treasure Beach in April 2018.