A NOSTALGIC GUYANESE CHRISTMAS – Dmitri Allicock

A NOSTALGIC GUYANESE CHRISTMAS

 By Dmitri Allicock for Guyaneseonline

There is no Christmas like a Guyana Christmas they say. I would also add that the Christmas of my childhood in Guyana cannot be replicated anywhere else. Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind.

This is the ultimate celebration of all the holidays in Guyana. Christmas waves a magic wand over Guyana, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. The birth of the baby Jesus and savior of all mankind tradition goes back to the early Dutch in Guyana. Christmas in Guyana is about Christianity and family. The entire Country prepares weeks in advance. Government workers including civil servants, police and army expects their traditional bonuses and salary increases. Children are at home from school for their Christmas Holidays. Flights are jammed up as many Guyanese abroad head home.  Guyana is missed tremendously at this time for those that are unable to return home.          Read article >>> [A NOSTALGIC GUYANESE CHRISTMAS]

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Comments

  • wycs  On December 21, 2012 at 8:30 pm

    Yes Dmitri, this is true. but many of us do not seem to know the true meaning of Christmas. The coming of Jesus Christ is the most important thing in the world to save all Mankind from their sins but Christmas to many are more materialistic. We should all go to Mass or any other Christian Church on Christmas day thanking God for sending His Son Jesus Christ so that we all can have everlasting life. This is not only on His birthday,but every day of the year if this is at all possible but surely not one day of the year only. I hope Guyanese Christians will understand.

    All the best to you and your family during the Season but first go to church with your family.

  • Dmitri Allicock  On December 21, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    Merry Christmas Wycs. Wishing you peace, health and happiness

  • Sgrft  On December 22, 2012 at 12:37 am

    Awesome. Thanks for the beautiful memories. No place on earth like GUyana.

  • Dmitri Allicock  On December 22, 2012 at 12:49 am

    Jesus Was Born On Christmas Day (Harry Belafonte) – YouTube
    ► 4:45► 4:45
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MnN0tJjqRO8
    Nov 26, 2011 – Uploaded by moonalisa2u
    Born On Christmas Day- Brad Paisley (lyrics & slideshow)by IrishCountryGal132,979 views; Harry Belafonte …

  • Dmitri Allicock  On December 22, 2012 at 12:57 am

    Christmas Song – Nat King Cole – Oh Tannenbaum ( Oh … – YouTube
    ► 3:01► 3:01
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPxCHi4mLYA
    Nov 18, 2008 – Uploaded by KatJu1986
    Christmas Song – Nat King Cole – Oh Tannenbaum ( Oh Christmas Tree) … When I first heard this one I did .

  • Dmitri Allicock  On December 22, 2012 at 12:59 am

    Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire (The Christmas Song) (HD …
    ► 2:16► 2:16
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=khWvxVEhcMQ
    Jul 18, 2009 – Uploaded by NorthPoleChristmas
    Elf Lollipop Leroux dedicates this to her family and friends. You are all very special to me; as bright as a …

  • Dmitri Allicock  On December 22, 2012 at 1:01 am

    Nat King Cole – O Holy Night – YouTube
    ► 3:00► 3:00
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T4uP32mnAjY
    Nov 25, 2008 – Uploaded by xyzkerry
    O Holy Night by Nat King Cole. … Sign in with your YouTube Account (YouTube, Google+, Gmail, Orkut …

  • Dmitri Allicock  On December 22, 2012 at 1:09 am

    All I Want For Christmas Is You – Mariah Carey – YouTube
    ► 4:02► 4:02
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K5bo4VDEH-U
    Nov 10, 2008 – Uploaded by Gabz50
    All I Want For Christmas Is You – Mariah Carey ….. Big Brother 1 Croatia – Big Bozic Songby El Stefaneli282 …

  • Dmitri Allicock  On December 22, 2012 at 1:23 am

    Remembering Guyana’s son Godfrey Chin at Christmas

    “Perhaps it’s best to share here snippets and anecdotes from the diaspora of what was so significant about the Guyanese Christmas spirit:

    – Writing wishful letters to Father Christmas and kin abroad – hopeful like petitions, that the longer the list, the more bountiful the gifts.

    – Big-eye believers, hanging pillow cases, instead of the customary Xmas stockings.

    – Earning small change from completing household chores, such as scraping furniture, staining the floors, and selling home-made plaster-of-paris figures, wall plaques, and crepe paper and waxed flowers.

    -The smell of Sunlight or carbolic soap, disinfectant and smell-o-pine, used to scrub wooden floors and steps; the new linoleum cut to fit on the kitchen floor and a fresh oil cloth on the dining table; Wallaba wood burning in the Dover Stove – and Flit sprayed to kill the mosquitos.

    – Home-made dolly furniture made from cigarette and match boxes glued together, and door mats – from scraps left over from sewing.

    -Cloves stuck in the boiled Swift ham which came from England sealed into tar, and the final baking with pine jam; the pepperpot boiling away when only warm-up required.

    -The salt butter stirred and washed for sponge and fruit cake, and taking the cake-mix to the neighbourhood bakery; home-made bread baking in the box oven.

    – Licking every pan and ladle while helping in the kitchen, with mouth replenished every time mother’s back turn.

    – Setting rice paddy in bowls – watching them sprout as promise of ‘prosperity’ in the new year. This was our local version of ‘chia-pet.’

    – Red Brunswick Canadian apples from open crates in front of Stabroek Market; bunches of grapes nestled in pitch-pine sawdust boxes and weighed on scales.

    – Last minute Xmas Eve rush to ensure the house spic and span, and all the condiments, eggs, essence, etc, for the preparation of the food on hand, before shop close.

    – Volunteers to kill at least two chickens and a duck, to be hand plucked after pouring boiling water.

    – The Xmas Eve night trip for the last window-shop delight downtown, where spin boards, over/under, and 3-card hustlers challenge the ice-apple vendors for your remaining pocket-change.

    – The gathering of friends at Fogarty’s/Bookers-Universal Square awaiting late closing at nine, Dec 24, then off to a night club.

    – Xmas Eve Night 1957, when the Serrao/Fernandes Brothers brought out the first Puttagee steelband ex John Fernandes wharf, and it was ‘ol mas’ confusion on Water St. The costumes, ‘Convicts,’ by yours truly, were all hand-painted black stripes on brown cotton, and smoking was prohibited as everyone reeked of turp-sub fumes for the rest of the holidays.

    – The midnight mass at the cathedrals, and the peal of the church bells.

    – The accomplished pre-season Goodwill, Police, Woodside Choirs at Company Path and institutions, compared to the pick-up, door-to-door carollers at your front door.

    – Surprise occasional jouvert-style, early-morning steelband tramps, awakening neighbourhoods to the melodic strains of classic and Xmas tunes.

    – The era when songs such as Valerie, Juanita, Doggie in the Window were the local favourite steelband road marches, as we jumped up shamefaced in public, hoping to avoid punishment later at home.

    – Garlic pork frying on Christmas morning and the aroma wafting throughout the house.

    – The scramble of Xmas morning delight as gifts were opened by all members of the family and the Christmas spirit overflowed like neglected milk scalding on the fire.

    – All the neighbouring kids playing with their toys outdoors on Xmas Day, with gun and caps, nail and key bombs, carbon – a cacaphony of youthful bedlam.

    – Preparing the Valhalla feasts of Christmas lunch to surpass the American Thanksgiving; home-made drinks of ginger-beer, sorrel, fly, sleepy tonic and every brand of liquor, bush-rum and pac-pac. Designated drivers in those days were our ‘wire-cane’ teachers, preparing us for Common Entrance.

    – Joining the passing steelbands – tramping back to their pan-yard and hoping to find another band going in the direction of your home on the other side of town.

    – A last lap tramp organised by the Chinese on New Year’s Day from the Lee’s residence at High & Hadfield – with a hired steelband.

    – Counting how many masquerade bands encountered during the season, and enjoying the santapee maddening flounces to retrieve tossed coins, etc.

    The Xmas night dances at Cosmas or Portuguese Club with leading vocalists, Anne Haynes, Pepe, Ted Jones etc, belting out O Holy Night. And the finale jump-up from the string or brass band of the chorus Gloria in Excelsis Deo in soca tempo.

    Boxing Day which had no relationship to boxing, but yet fistcards between Len Houston and Kid Galahad or Dewan Singh and Young Joe Louis staged at the Olympic Cinema. Madam Olindy Vaudeville Shows featuring Sam Chase and Jack Mello were added features as a drawing card!”

  • Deen  On December 22, 2012 at 2:59 am

    Ah! Dmitri, my friend, you struck a chord that touched the hearts of all Guyanese. I think there is a consensus about the special uniqueness of the atmosphere and the festivities of a Guyanese Christmas, especially during our childhood days, Thanks for another beautiful and nostalgic article. In addition to all that you mentioned, I also fondly remembered my favorite presents: cowboy hat, gun and holster….and not forgetting the noisy fire-crackers and the annual “Chrismas apple” treat.
    Best wishes to you and your family for a most Merry Christmas and a New Year blessed with peace, joy, health and happiness.

  • Sharon Westmaas  On December 22, 2012 at 8:30 am

    I remember driving around GT admiring all the Christmas trees framed by the house windows. And coming downstairs one Christmas morning and there was my very first bicycle!

  • Dmitri Allicock  On December 22, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    Thank you most kindly for your compliments Deen.
    The season for remembering the birth of the baby Jesus is governed by our childhood memories. They say nothing is more powerful than the memories created by a child’s experiences. The child’s memories fashion the adult’s life.
    Both of my parents would relate their special experiences of Christmas to us as children.
    Imported ice apples, the big and best bunches of sweet grapes, ham wrapped in that heavy and thick tar paper and other treats were also available at this special time but were soon gone in the banning days. I remember when we all would gather on Christmas eve and sang Christmas carols. The simple things that made the time so special.
    My dear wife still have several of her childhood dolls that can talk outfitted in the dresses she made way back then.
    With only three days to go before Christmas, the memories of great times becomes so overwhelming and sentimental.
    Wishing you and family a Merry Christmas and a healthy and happy 2013

  • jacklow2  On December 22, 2012 at 8:24 pm

    Hi Dmitri,
    Thanks for the wonderful memories of Christmas In Guyana…How can we for get
    the joys of childhood ess\pecially during the christmas Holidays as a child in the pomeroon, I remember My gift of a doll made of straw, with beautiful percelain head,a lovely bonnet made of lace and lovely brown eyes.given to me by my grandmother…This time of the year is a time for us to forget the bad moments
    and greet our friends and families with love,and enjoy the many blessings from our Holy father in Heaven. MERRY CHRISTMAS and a Happy Healthy 2013
    to you and your families…God Bless to one and all.
    Yvonne

  • Dmitri Allicock  On December 25, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    Merry Christmas to you and family Yvonne.

  • Dmitri Allicock  On December 25, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    Lord Kitchener Drink A rum – YouTube
    ► 3:43► 3:43
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2BOfBCl7d9U
    Dec 3, 2008 – Uploaded by wongkee83
    Sign in with your YouTube Account (YouTube, Google+, Gmail, Orkut, Picasa, or Chrome) to add wongkee83’s …

  • Dmitri Allicock  On December 25, 2012 at 6:42 pm

    Happy Holiday – YouTube
    ► 3:12► 3:12
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=12nZzo6X6qA
    Dec 19, 2008 – Uploaded by raygems
    Happy Holiday. Ray Seales·25 videos. Subscribe Subscribed Unsubscribe 52. 28,559. Like 27 Dislike 1. Like …

  • Dmitri Allicock  On December 25, 2012 at 6:45 pm

    Guyana Masquerade – YouTube
    ► 5:12► 5:12
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Zd7MdurxiI
    Dec 10, 2007 – Uploaded by raygems
    Masquerade is probably the only original form of music and dance from Guyana.This session was videotaped .

  • Dmitri Allicock  On December 25, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    Guyana Masquerade Flounce – YouTube
    ► 3:04► 3:04
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kvtstXBxErw
    Dec 7, 2008 – Uploaded by raygems
    Guyana Masqueraders FLOUNCE to the beat of masquerade drums.This dance was passed on for many ..

  • Dmitri Allicock  On December 25, 2012 at 6:52 pm

    Merry Christmas to my cousin Sharon Westmaas and dear family

  • Dmitri Allicock  On December 25, 2012 at 11:37 pm

    The tide recedes, but leaves behind bright seashells on the sand.
    The sun goes down, but gentle warmth still lingers in the land,
    The music stops, and yet it echoes on in sweet refrains . . .
    For every joy that passes, something beautiful remains.
    Let not Christmas
    fall from view.
    Let it always
    live within you

  • jacklow2  On December 26, 2012 at 7:54 am

    Sweet aroma of Galic pork fill the the Christmas Morning.
    Dew drops fell like gitterling diamonds dripping from the leaves of trees
    lining like a carpet on the soft grass beneath your bear feet….Oh what a wonderful
    Christmas morning, Oh, what a beautiful day, For no matter where you roam,
    There is no Christmas like our home, A Guyanese Home.
    Let the memories flows like the river and streams of our beloved Country Guyana lives within our hearts where ever we are…just wish upon a star,
    May Bless one and all.
    Yvonne

  • Dianne  On January 15, 2013 at 10:17 am

    This last comment reminded me of a few lines from a book by an Englishman who came to Guyana in the 60s. In “The Lost Tribes of Guyana” Ridgewell wrote these lines, now etched in my memory:

    … “From south to north they flow
    Turgid and deep,
    Through forests older than Man
    Where Time and History sleep…
    The mighty rivers, the many waters of Guyana”…

    Every good wish for the New Year to Guyanese everywhere!

    Dianne.

  • Dmitri Allicock  On December 15, 2013 at 10:47 am

    My dear friend Slingshot http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EyTADai6hzY

  • Dmitri Allicock  On December 24, 2014 at 6:43 am

    MESSAGE OF CHRISTMAS
    There is song of hope blowing through the air
    If you listen very carefully you will surly hear
    Heaven’s peace and love on earth to disperse
    The lace of life’s virtues that needs no rehearse
    A beautiful song of hope for the meek and weary
    That brings sunshine and smiles for the dreary
    It’s ready and asking of you to be release this hour
    Seeds of true purpose and happiness mystic power
    Like petals on the wind blowing on Christmas Eve
    Enduring song of Jesus carried by the cool breeze
    And echoes from the distant trails and misty foothills
    A message of Christmas of such reverberating thrill

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