Barbados Like A Local: Christmas Traditions

For some it might be hard to imagine Christmas without snow or mistletoe. While the wind in Barbados may carry a slight chill this time of year, the sun still shines and the beaches are as warm as ever. As if you needed any more reasons to visit Barbados, Christmas is perhaps one of the best times of year to see the island. Here are our favourite local Christmas traditions:

Lights. Lights Everywhere.

Christmas is a beautiful time to visit Barbados as many homes, businesses and government offices are beautifully decorated. The capital city Bridgetown, is washed with red and green lights while the island’s many round-a-bouts showcase various Christmas themes. The annual "Christmas Drive" to see the island’s lights is a tradition for many Barbadian families.

"Maizie, where is the reindeer?"

What would Christmas be without the music? Never mind the heat, local radio stations usually have classic songs about winter wonderlands, sleigh rides and open fires in heavy rotation from December 1st. The Christmas Album by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton is a particular favourite but the island does have its own Christmas music as well, of which Maizie by local artist Red Plastic Bag is the most popular.

Listen: Maizie by Red Plastic Bag >>

It’s not Christmas without Great Cake, Jug-jug and Ham.

Made with a delicious combination of dried fruits, spices and generous amounts of liquor, Great Cake is a staple on Barbadian tables at Christmas. Sometimes referred to as Black Cake, this dessert can be served plain or with icing – either way, it’s a tasty treat.

Influenced by the Scottish delicacy Haggis, Jug-jug is a traditional Barbadian dish made with pigeon peas, guinea corn flour, herbs and salted meat.

The centrepiece of any Barbadian table is the ham. The cured ham is studded with cloves and during baking the ham is basted with a glaze – typically pineapple or sorrel. For many, the crispy ham fat – what locals call the crackling – is the best part!

‘Bajan’ Christmas Ham with Pineapple Glaze


Christmas Morning in Queen’s Park

The annual Christmas morning service at Queen’s Park in Bridgetown is a local institution. The service features the sweet music of the Royal Barbados Police Force Band and is attended by hundreds of men, women and children from all walks of life dressed in new colourful and stylish dresses, tuxedos and suits bought especially for Christmas.


Christmas at The Crane

Christmas at The Crane captures the best of the island’s traditions. The Crane Village is beautifully lit and the sweet sounds of carolers can be heard in the evenings. Great cake, jug-jug, ham and all of the local favourites are readily available at the Christmas Day Lunch Buffet. To book or for more information on the Christmas and Boxing Day Menus at The Crane, contact