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While in England for school so many people, after they heard my Jamaican accent, asked me if I’d seen the film Cool Runnings about the first Jamaican Bobsled team that went to the Calgary Winter Olympics in 1988 having not ever seen snow. My answer was yes, I had seen the film and laughed at the scenes of the four Jamaican men battling with negative temperatures. At the first Christmas Party of this season, I was lucky enough to meet the original driver of the Jamaican Bobsled team, Tal Stokes. The team went to the Olympics four times, against all odds. He and I had quite a laugh over the weather that I faced on my arrival in Switzerland.
In Jamaica, at Christmas time, white Christmases are only seen on TV and instead we have cool (23 degrees Celsius), windy weather influenced by the Northerly systems blowing from North America. Family comes first and the celebrations include everyone, young and old. Santa Clause comes on Christmas day but arrives on a donkey cart, not being offered milk and cookies but a cold red stripe beer and a bulla. The whole family gathers for a large Christmas lunch, ham and turkey but served with rice and peas, sweet potato and a hot scotch bonnet pepper to spice it up washed down with sweet sorrel, the meal is finished off with rum laced Christmas pudding and an afternoon snooze in the sun. The festivities often spill over to following day, which we call Boxing Day, a time for further celebration and completing the Christmas meal.
It is a joyous time filled with singing and merriment and an overall feeling of goodwill.
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