Christmas – The Pastel Story

Pastels are a Christmas staple borrowed from our Venezuelan neighbours. It’s a process that only a troop of dedicated persons can entertain and endure. Our kids think it’s an important part of the Christmas celebrations which cannot be dismissed. No home made pastels? Are you mad?

They are 3 and 4 years old and making corn balls, the treks to Paramin to get the treasured banana leaves, the ritual ‘quailing’ of said leaves, cutting strips of twine to wrap the pastels, oily hands, eating un-cooked corn balls, stealing the olives, Granny makes her ponche de creme, eyes are crying as the onions are cut, the leaves are being wiped, simply fun in their eyes, but as far as the adults are concerned, it’s cheap labour. Another tradition in the making. “When are we making pastels – ok then we can’t go to the beach”. Another important date on their calendar.

Tradition adds to a journey – it brings stability to life – it encourages learning, it’s the root of bonding. It is part of who you are.

May your journey be filled with tiny traditions – may you forever be close to your roots.

Christmas Lunch

True Trinis understand the importance of Christmas Lunch. Generally food is our core. Whenever we get together be it for a birthday, anniversary or some small success in life, we eat, we drink and we be merry. Far less for Christmas. We focus on making sure that all of our foodie pleasures are fulfilled.

Christmas lunch therefore is an important element of our celebrations. All family members are invited, are expected to attend no matter what time and no matter how many. We eat, we celebrate, we enjoy each other’s company. It’s truly the most integral part of the Christmas celebrations. It’s the time we get the family together, to bond.

There is laughter, memories, story telling and sometimes, believe it or not, introductions. The family grows, prospers and benefits. Once per year there are no exceptions, no excuses. We get together to celebrate the essence of Christmas – family.

May your family grow together in Christ.

Christmas traditions – the Novena

Once upon a time, my very good friend shared her Latin childhood tradition of re-enacting the birth of Christ through song. Our kids were just about able to read and she purchased a book entitled “The First Christmas” that they could follow. It was a great way of instilling in our kids the real meaning of Christmas amidst all the noise and clatter of Santa Claus, buying gifts and the general hustle and bustle that has now become synonymous with Christmas celebrations.

As our kids have grown, we still hear the eternal question – “When is the novena Mum” with great anticipation in their voice as this date would determine their Christmas itinerary. What began as a simple get together and reminder to our kids of the true meaning of Christmas, has turned into a landmark tradition for our small group of friends. Over the years we’ve extended the tradition to include friends and family, always with the focus of keeping Christ in Christmas.

The kids still read, the adults still sing, we laugh, we share, we bond. May our friendship and our tradition transcend life’s trials and tribulations. May our kids always keep the real meaning of Christmas at the heart of their celebrations.

God bless you my very good friend, Yvette.