ELAINE HINDS’ FAMILY took her to the Christmas morning festivities in Queen’s Park two years ago.
It was the first time in her 91 years she had experienced the tradition that hundreds
of Barbadians enjoy year after year.
The Christmas morning atmosphere in the park – the air of celebration and excitement fuelled with bustling activity from stylish Park-goers promenading to the music of Royal Barbados Police Force Band and vendors of candied apples, hot dogs and hamburgers, toys and loads of drink, doing a brisk business – was all new to her.
Her memories are of more sedate Christmases growing up in “the country”, her early childhood having been spent in Mile-and-a-Quarter, St Peter, with her many siblings (she was one of ten children).
“The most thing I could see in the house was needlework . . . and curtains. All the house full of curtains for Christmas.” Elaine’s mother did dress-making at home.
Her father, the headteacher at All Saints Boys’ School in St Peter, was a disciplinarian who left no mistake in his children’s minds about who was in charge of that household. Good manners, being on “your ps and qs at all times”, were his standard.
Her Christmas was a sedate affair and though the children in the house participated in some of the traditional preparations for the big day, most of it was done by the two domestic workers her parents employed and others who lent a hand, like drawing the marl to be strewn around the yard.
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