Grand market a very gleeful time of the Christmas holidays for kids
Just writing about Grand Market gets me very excited. It takes me back to the days when I was a kid and getting ready to go to this festivity.
It’s December 24th, its Christmas eve, or ‘Gran’ Market’ as we say here on the island, and it is the most exciting day for children in the Christmas season.
The moment you wake up its all smiles. You know you're going to have a very long day that is full of pure fun and enjoyment.
Grand market is a day and night affair, so at around 11am the older kids get dressed up.
Where are they going? Heck, they are just going out on the town to buy some cool outfit for the real fun later and you better be wearing brand new clothes.
Why? Because everybody else is, maybe it’s a silent rule. I don’t know you just go with the flow.
Parents usually carry the younger kids. All across the island there are people shopping picking up last minute stuff, in every little town in every community it’s bustling with the sound of music. Horns from cars honking, vendors selling everything from a pin to an anchor all in the spirit of Christmas.
The little ones spend their money on candy canes, whistles, starlight, dolls, toy trucks, balloons, and the toy sunglasses definitely are a must have.
Grand market is the Christmas season's most anticipated event and the focal point of the activity for the children.
An entire area of the town is blocked off. No motor vehicle is allowed so the shoppers and vendors could move about freely and safely.
As night falls, the second part of the festivity is in full swing. Wow! Kids all decked out in their new cloths heading back to the town square. The kids know that tonight is their night. They have the money that they've saved for the entire year, by doing extra chores for their parents.
Hundreds of people converge on every town across the island. Beautifully decorated shops have Christmas lights brightly hanging from their roofs to columns outside.
There are street dances, the vendors are still selling leftovers from the day, which includes clothes, shoes and toys of all sorts.
Now they are joined by other vendors like jerk-man who sells jerk chicken and pork, others sell sugarcane, coconut jelly, and boiled corn. The night time sky is lit with starlight. Boys being boys squirt water from their water-guns on each other all in good fun.
Shhh….want to know a secret? Yes, Grand Market night is when most kids have their first drink of alcohol. This festivity last until the wee hours of the morning.
We stumble home on Christmas morning just in time to hear the church choir pass holding lit candles and singing Christmas carols. In a little while we have to go to church.
In church my prayer was "please lord let the church be over soon”, so I could go home and devour some of that tasty rice and gungo peas with roast beef, topped off with my favorite dessert rum cake and sorrel drink that was home waiting for me.
Grand Market dates back to slavery. On this day the slaves would get all dressed up and meet at convenient locations where they could socialize.
Others slaves would sell all kinds of homemade items, like strawhats and baskets made from bamboo and brooms made from tash.
They entertained themselves by singing and playing drums which were made from the the skin of animals like goats and cattle, despite what they were going through they still manage to have some fun.
As Grand Market evolved from earlier years, the fun remains the same with the kids looking forward to this day as the most important of the Christmas holiday.
Leaving Grand market back to Christmas activities