Christmas “Tabanca”; Trinistyle


Let’s face it Carnival is upon us and the epiphany of Christmas is a faint memory away. A “tabanca” like feeling spreads across the warmth of my Trinbagonian heart as I remember this Christmas gone too soon. A Trinbagonian Christmas is like no other celebration, each destination it has its own traditions. I am truly blessed to be born Trinbagonian and to live, love, embrace and participate in a culture so steeped in the enrichment of the people who came. So today, let’s reminisce a little on a season gone by so quickly forgotten. It is without reticence that I must bid farewell  on this one before I open the flood gates to welcome Carnival in her full aura.


The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago shares a larger percentage of Roman Catholicism and Christianity denominations beside its Hindu and Islamic counterparts. Hence, they share the international concomitant to the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. There are preparations for the anticipation of this event dated 25th December annually. The economy is also a buzz as retailers and shoppers join the harmonious bonds of sale after sale after sale. Even the guy in the big red suit, “Santa Claus” makes a more than prominent appearance at local scenes. Christmas villages are set up in urban areas cashing in on fantastic deals and persuasion of thick crowds who join the ultimate shoppers in circling car parks for hours until deciding to “foot it” to their points of sale. The madness soars at groceries with lengthy lines of buyers, sleep deprived cashiers and stockers busy at work in aisles. You may be lucky to see a cash register or two break down with all that sale!


Never mind this usual humdrum of activity a Trinbagonian Christmas spells l-o-v-e  for  the Maker and mankind. There’s something oddly familiar about Christmas tunes wooing couples together. Hey, they might even spur your romance into a destination wedding ;) And why not?! The Caribbean breeze is light and the least bit frosty but far from humid.  Poinsettias bloom and brighten the local landscape. Christmas lights fill the décor of the most extravagant to humblest abodes.


But more enchantingly there is the subtle kindness and the peace that was meant to be. There is a cheery and gentle invitation to “eat ah food” Trinbago style. Homes are stocked with the sweet tastes of homemade sorrel, black cake, ponche a crème, ginger beer, hams, turkeys, wild meat, pastelle and oven fresh bread. The divine delight of a true foodie’s Christmas.


Yet the real culture seeker’s adventure stems from the season of paranderos. This Spanish element has struck a musical and endemic role in any travelers  guide to a Trinbagonian Christmas experience. The sweet strains of this melody belt out lyrics from street side speaker boxes and household stereos. Soca parang and parang music CD’s are stacked and sold to the average shopper. Lyrical icons like Daisy Voisin, Charlene Flores, Sharlene Boodram, Scrunter, Baron, The Lara Brothers are “must haves” for the season. However, a sight to behold is the real parandero bands moving from house to house singing with chac chac and cuatro in hand spreading cheer and stirring up dancing feet in exchange for the sweet indulgence of exotic Trini Christmas delicacies.


Oh out with the old and in with the new . Adieu Christmas 2012 it’s time to pack up these decorations and nestle the sentiments of the season in my deep seated heart.  Welcome your Majesty Carnival 2013!