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Stabroek News

Christmas Trini style
published: Tuesday | December 20, 2005

Keisha Shakespeare, Staff Reporter

CHRISTMAS IN Trinidad is a tradition because of the mixture of interesting cultures. It is also usually a time when families and friends get together.

A major part of the festive celebration is Parang, Christmas songs that are sung in Spanish (a culture that has been adopted from Venezuela). The songs are usually about Jesus Christ.

In the same way that Jamaicans go carolling in the early morning on December 25, so does the Parang band. The band usually goes from house to house in the wee hours in the morning serenading the family. Usually the householders greet the band with something to quench their thirst ­ usually alcoholic beverages. Lystra Sharp is a Trinidadian living in Jamaica and she told Lifestyle that currently the culture is becoming more commercialised.

"There is a parang competition and in most malls a parang band is usually playing. However, the culture is still strong in the small villages," explained Miss Sharp.

Another musical tradition is the Contique Noel, songs sung in French about the native French. Contique Noel is limited to small rural villages.

Food also plays an important role.The menu comprises traditional foods such as Ponche a crème (similar to egg nog), black fruitcake, pastilles (similar to 'dukunnuh' but it has beef, olives, creepers and raisins), stewed gungo peas and ham.

Although there are many religions in Trinidad and even though Christmas is Christian tradition, it is recognised by most citizens.

The spirit of Christmas can be seen on almost any street in Santiago, Dominican Republic.

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