Have a Merry, Unique Christmas in Jamaica

November 29, 2006 (PRLEAP.COM) Travel News
Instead of celebrating Christmas this year with the usual – setting up Christmas trees, decorating your home with fancy pictures of Santa Clause and his reindeers, hanging up stockings, warming up by the fire to keep away from the cold, etc. – why not spend the holidays out of the country? Preferably somewhere warm and exotic. Somewhere like Jamaica.

Experience a very unique and warm Christmas in Jamaica. This beautiful island nation holds a very old Christmas festival called Jonkunnu, where bands of male dancers perform a mime and dance in the streets decked in colorful costumes. The Jonkunnu Mento Festival is held every year in Kingston, Jamaica in honor of John Canoe (also known as John Conny), a 17th century African merchant who is considered a local hero.

This year’s festival will be held on December 9 to 10 at Phoenix Avenue in Kingston.
Watch the spectacular street parade and be entertained by a band of Jonkunnu performers. Dance to the rhythm of Jamaican music influenced by African beats. Sample the spicy goodness of traditional Jamaican food. Christmas in this land of reggae and ska music will surely be fun and memorable.

Watch out for the Mento Music Competition and listen to some Jamaican folk music which greatly influenced today’s ska and reggae music. Other event highlights include the kiddie Jonkunnu Costume Competition where local children vie for the most creative costume and win trophies. Witness the fantastic masquerade as Jonkunnu performers perform their antics and scare little children with their scary costumes.

Said to have originated in the time of slavery when the slaves were given free time during the Christmas season, the Jonkunnu festival is widely celebrated in Jamaica and the Jonkunnu dance can now even be performed during state events.

Interested travelers wanting to experience a Jamaican Christmas can fly to Kingston, the capital of Jamaica, and book an accommodation at Altamont Court Hotel. This 58-room hotel is located in the heart of Kingston so watching the street parade won’t be a problem. For online reservations, visitors can log on to: http://www.altamontcourt.com.