By Steve Andrews
Boxing Day! Ah, you can practically taste the deals and sales percolating on Dec. 26 even as you read this. Everything from appliances, to new threads, to video games, and much more are just waiting to be boxed up and carried home by the masses in the United Kingdom and other countries with ties to the British Empire. But it didn’t always used to be that way. And in Jamaica, it still isn’t.
If Boxing Day has largely turned into the British cousin to America’s Black Friday, then at least in Jamaica the national holiday eschews consumerism. You won’t find any sales going on there, and in fact, you will be lucky to find any shops open at all, unless you happen to be in one of the island’s many resorts.
Boxing Day in Jamaica keeps with the holiday’s more altruistic, or at least family-oriented, origins. It is not a day for shopping or for any sort of official business, but instead a day for getting together with your loved ones.
Boxing on the Beach
This is a day that many people choose to spend on the beach, after all, it is Jamaica. In recent times beaches tend to get packed with a mixture of local people and tourists, so if you don’t like crowds, it is better to find something else to do instead. Unless, of course, you have your own private beach to enjoy like Moon Palace Jamaica’s bay beach paradise in Ocho Rios.
Another difference about Boxing Day in Jamaica is that if it falls on a Saturday or Sunday it gets celebrated on the Monday following the weekend. Whenever it gets celebrated, it is very much a holiday and a day to relax and enjoy yourself.
The Boxing Arts
A special tradition in Jamaica on Boxing Day is the onset of National Pantomime season, held at Kingston’s Little Theatre Complex. Although pantomime is a very British tradition, in Jamaica the shows have a very Caribbean flavor and the dialogue is often in Jamaican patois. The tradition started way back on Boxing Day in 1941 and since then the opening of the Jamaican Pantomime season has always occurred on the holiday.
Even if you don’t understand some of the humor, you are sure to love the music, dancing, and colorful costumes. This year’s pantomime is entitled “Dapper Dan The Anansi Man. “
Resorting to Concerts
Drive-In Concert in Black River
Those looking for an out-of-the-Boxing Day event to participate in this year – and are willing to rack up some serious mileage on Jamaican highways to get there – may be interested in the Christmas Extravaganza in Black River, in the southwestern part of island. Starting on Christmas Day, the drive-in concert (yes, you can watch it from your car) goes into the morning on Boxing Day with around 25 performers taking the stage. Scheduled to perform are: Sanchez, Laden, Sizzla, D'Angel, Beenie Man, Tommy Lee Sparta, Masicka, Half Pint, Admiral Tibet, Cocoa Tea, Deep Jahi, and Rankin Pumpkin.
Knutsford Express buses will be running services from Kingston, Ocho Rios, Negril, Montego Bay and Savanna-la-Mar, and will drive right into the venue's parking area. Concert organizer GT Taylor said: If you want to sleep until your favorite artiste comes on stage you can do it in your car."
Boxing the Moon…Palace
Among the leaders in tourism in the Caribbean, Jamaica offers an array of wonders for visitors during the holidays. The Caribbean’s temperate winters attract visitors to explore the island’s natural beauty and experience the warmth of the Jamaican people. The experience is heightened even more at Moon Palace Jamaica where the all-inclusive resort puts together an events calendar for Boxing Day and the holidays that will combine with fun with Jamaican traditions.