If you want to decorate your home for Christmas in the US Virgin Islands, you’ll find a variety of traditions unique to the islands. You will find traditions such as caroling and gifting hams among them. Traditionally, the poorest families in the islands would receive a ham as a gift from their employer, neighbor or shopkeeper. Even local grocers would give away Christmas hams.
Traditions of giving hams at Christmas
Tradition dictates that the US Virgin Islands’ poorest families receive a huge bone-in ham for Christmas. The pennies used to buy the ham are saved throughout the year. It is then given as a gift by a neighbor, employer, or shopkeeper. Some grocers also gave away hams to customers.
The Virgin Islands used to be a hub of joyful celebrations for Christmas. The vibrant spirit of the community was the hallmark of the Virgin Islands’ Christmas celebrations in the 1950s. Today, however, the festive mood has dwindled. With most residents living off-island, the traditional gathering of people from different villages has become a farce. Many people have given up on the traditional way of giving thanks and celebrating the season.
Virgin Islanders traditionally make sweetbread for Christmas morning. The sweetbread is sweetened with coconut and served with ham. This tradition is only offered in the Virgin Islands. This dish is often served on Christmas morning with ham. The Virgin Islands’ Christmas traditions are diverse, and they vary by family.
On Christmas Eve, the Virgin Islands celebrate a community market. This event features street dancing, crafts, and food. This market is held the weekend before Christmas and on Christmas Eve. Many vendors sell small toys and firecrackers as well as balloons. Some markets feature large accordion-style bells, and vendors wear bright hats.
The sweetbread is made by Julie Duke, a native Virgin Islander who grew up in St. Thomas and has been living in the US Virgin Islands since 2000. She has a mother-in-law, Joyce, who cooks a traditional Christmas dinner for the family. In addition to the ham, her family often eats turkey with dressing and potato stuffing for Christmas Eve. A ham bone is also saved for Old Years Day supper.
You might want to include traditions of caroling from US Virgin Islands in your Christmas decorations. In the past, carolers would travel from house to house singing Christmas carols. The homeowners would usually welcome these carolers with food. In the past, there were choirs that would form in every neighborhood and perform from one house to another. However, these choirs began to fade away during the war years and the late 1930s. However, some groups have revived the tradition in recent years. Nowadays, choirs from schools and churches gather in neighborhoods and church settings for Christmas Eve to perform.
In exchange for sweet bread, guavaberry juice, and ham, locals used to invite carolers into their homes. Even the most poor household could have at least one piece Christmas ham. They could either purchase it with pennies that they had saved throughout the year or get a gift from the shopkeeper. Some shops would give away hams to loyal customers.
The US Virgin Islands are a beautiful place to celebrate the holiday season. With beautiful beaches and the warm, welcoming Caribbean climate, a vacation here can be a wonderful getaway. There are many ways to enjoy the festive season. A chartered cruise is one of the best ways to see the entire island.
In the US Virgin Islands, the inkberry tree is a popular Christmas decoration. This sturdy, spiny tree can grow up 20 feet. Native to the Caribbean, the inkberry is well-adapted to the climate. Its leaves, branches, and twigs are also useful as fishing poles. In the old days, Virgin Islanders used these trees to decorate their homes. They would cut them down in the wild and carefully bring them into their homes. Then they would decorate them with colored tissue and small candles.
The inkberry is found on the hillsides of the island. Its leaves, berries and needles are displayed in select bastions of local culture. Before Hurricane Irma struck the island, the Whim Great House and Museum in St. Croix celebrated Christmas with an Inkberry tree. In recent years, the Long Look Heritage Living Museum has also decorated a Christmas tree with inkberries.
Many families still use inkberry plants as Christmas decorations. They are fond of the tradition and the memories of past Christmases in the US Virgin Islands. The British Virgin Islands issued four stamps celebrating the holidays in 2005 as a symbol for goodwill and love. The stamps featured poinsettia, Christmas trees, and snow on a mountain.
Two of the island’s native plants are the inkberry and century plants. The inkberry plant grows throughout the islands, while the agave plant grows in the arid eastern side. Locals will often decorate century plant stalks with crepe paper, fabric, or small candy by putting them in rock-filled containers. Some people spray paint their century plant stalks with gold.
If you’re in the US Virgin Islands, you’ll be happy to know that you can use century plants as a beautiful Christmas decoration. They can grow up to 20 ft in height and grow between 5-6 inches per day. Their branches bloom with yellow flowers in late spring and early summer. The stalks will turn brown by Christmas. Spray paint them with gold or silver, and then prop them up using rocks.
Century plants are native to the US Virgin Islands, and the American desert. The name comes from the fact that they only bloom once every 100 years. Botanists believe they will flower in the northerly climes every fifty to sixty year. This is one of the reasons why Delores Sgambati says she has heard of the plant’s name. The flowers provide food and nectar to bees and hummingbirds. The blooms last about a week and the plants hum with activity.