Hispanic traditions and influences on Christmas in the Caribbean

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1 Hispanic traditions and influences on Christmas in the Caribbean (information from the posters which were put up in the windows of the Spanish/IT room in December into January)

2 Mapa del Caribe Can you find Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and Trinidad?

3 The Spanish were the first Europeans to colonise the Caribbean, establishing settlements in the islands of Cuba, Hispaniola, and Puerto Rico, among others, once Cristóbal Colón had arrived and kick-started La Conquista. They also ruled the island of Trinidad in the southern Caribbean, although not its present day sister isle of Tobago.

4 Cuba La Habana (the capital) was established shortly after the conquest of Cuba by the Spanish in In 1898, at the end of the Spanish-American War, it was ceded to US, and granted independence in Current pop.: 11,258,597

5 La República Dominicana Colón stumbled across the island of Hispaniola during his second voyage in 1493 and by 1496 he established the first real Spanish colony of the Nuevo Mundo there. It was called Santo Domingo. In 1697, Spain ceded the western half of Hispaniola to France. The French part was called Saint-Domingue. This is present-day Haiti. In 1844, the Spanish territory declared its independence and adopted the name República Dominicana (Dominican Republic). Current pop.: 10,528,954

6 Puerto Rico Also discovered during Colón s second voyage in The colony established there was called San Juan and the main city, Puerto Rico; the names were later switched. The current second city of Puerto Rico, Ponce, is named for the first Spanish governor of the territory, explorer and Conquistador, Juan Ponce de León. In 1898, the island was ceded to US after the Spanish-American War, and remains a commonwealth of the US. The original Taíno inhabitants of the island called it Borikén (now spelled Borinquén), and nowadays Puerto Ricans who recognise their indigenous heritage call themselves Boricuas. Current pop.: 3,683,601

7 Trinidad Colón came across this island on his third voyage in It was almost 100 years before the first colony was established there, an inland town called San José de Oruña. The island remained under Spanish rule until 1797 when it was transferred to the British. (Prior to that French planters and their slaves had been allowed to migrate there from the French colonies.) This chequered history explains the varied linguistic and other influences from all three of the major European colonizers in the Caribbean (the Spanish, the French and the British). The flag shown is that of the present-day Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. Current pop.: Trinidad &Tobago (both islands): 1,344,235

8 Christian Roots of Christmas in the Caribbean It is common practice, throughout the Caribbean, to put up a Nativity Scene both at home and in public spaces like churches, parks and squares. Spanish names for this type of model are: el Nacimiento, el Belén or El Pesebre.

9 nacimiento = birth Belén = Bethlehem pesebre = manger

10 In many Caribbean countries, Christians attend a late night church service or Mass on Christmas Eve. In Spanish-speaking countries this is called la Misa de Gallo (the Rooster Mass/Service). In English-speaking territories, it is known as Midnight Mass.

11 In Santo Domingo, the capital of the DR, la Misa de Gallo is celebrated at the first cathedral built in the Nuevo Mundo. Catedral Primada de América: La Basílica de Santa María la Menor

12 Traditional Christmas music consists of aguinaldos, carols which tell of the first Christmas. In Trinidad, where Spanish has not been the main language for hundreds of years, these songs are still sung in Spanish (or broken Spanish). The music is called Parang, which is a corruption of the Spanish word parranda (partying/festivities). Soca parang is a modern hybrid of soca and parang, and is often sung in English with the odd Spanish term thrown in. The songs Soca Santa and I want a piece ah pork - that Grades 2 and 3 have been practising - are examples of soca parang.

13 A parang group performs in Trinidad parang

14 La parranda is the term used in Venezuela, the DR and Puerto Rico. It does not only refer to the music, which relies on several stringed and percussion instruments, but also to the tradition of visiting house after house, entertaining the neighbours and being offered refreshments at each stop. In Puerto Rico additional names are used for this custom, including la trulla (which implies a joke being played on someone) and el asalto (an attack on someone s home).

15 Un asalto in Puerto Rico

16 Decorations Apart from the Christmas tree (which is often something tropical and native rather than an imported evergreen), and the ever-popular lights, you will see lots of poinsettias. This flower is known as estrella de navidad in the DR, and flor de nochebuena in Puerto Rico, and other countries. In Spain it is called flor de Pascua.

17 Flores de Nochebuena Estrellas de Navidad o Flores de pascua

18 Comida y bebida navideña Throughout the Hispanic Caribbean, pork of some form is a mainstay of the Christmas menu. In la República Dominicana and in Puerto Rico, lechón or puerco asado, roast suckling pig on a spit. In Cuba, and among Cubans living in Miami, a caja china or asador.

19 Lechón asado en puya la República Dominicana (roast suckling pig on a spit) It is also prepared this way in Puerto Rico, above an open fire.

20 Lechón asado al estilo cubano en asador cubano The box in which the coals are heated is called a caja china.

21 una caja china the Cuban way of roasting lechón

22 In Trinidad, as in Guyana and other West Indian countries, garlic pork is a popular Christmas dish, but the main dish at the Christmas lunch a late lunch on 25 th December - is baked ham. (Black cake is another Caribbean-wide Christmas treat, with variations from country to country and even from cook to cook.)

23 Christmas Baked Ham, Trini-style (English influence is seen here rather than Spanish)

24 Another delicacy favoured at Christmastime in various forms throughout the Spanishinfluenced Caribbean is known in Trinidad as pastelles, Venezuela as hallacas, and in Puerto Rico and la RD as pasteles or pasteles en hoja. These special Christmastime meat pies are made with cornmeal ough, filled with minced beef or pork and a range of other ingredients including raisins, olives, capers, peppers. They are wrapped in banana leaves and steamed. They might be considered cousins of the Mexican tamales.

25 Mmm: Qué rico!

26 Creamy milk-and-rum cocktails are found in Trinidad (under the French name ponche à crème), Puerto Rico (where it is called coquito) and the DR (as ponche de huevo). Soft drinks include ginger tea in the DR and sorrel in Trinidad (as well as several other West Indian islands).

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