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Village Christmas In The 1950’s Part 2

As I reminisce about Christmas 25 years ago, I find out with a sense of nostalgia some aspects that have disappeared from the goof old fashioned Christmas Belizean style and in particular San Pedro style. The first one that comes to mind is the religious aspect celebrating Christmas. The excitement started on December 15 with the famous “Posadas”, which was the re-enactment of the Holy Family looking for an inn in Bethlehem but could not find any. A large procession comprised of adults and lots of children went to this house and in song and music asked for a place to stay in the inn. At first lodging would be denied, but upon the insistence of Joseph and Mary who was pregnant, consent to stay in the inn was granted. The door would be opened and everyone went in to celebrate around the Christmas tree adorned statues of Baby Jesus lying in manger in a stable. The Posadas continued with caroling and a treat of light cake and soft drinks for everyone. You can be certain that the children looked forward for the Posadas very year with eager anticipation as they do today for the Lions Christmas party.

The next aspect that is disappearing is the entertainment of Christmas in the past. With dances being very occasionally 25 years ago, the Christmas dance was very special and people make preparation long before with new dresses for the ladies, shining of shoes by the men, getting the musical band, soliciting the dance hall from Mr. Daddy Paz of Daddy’s Club. On December 24, the band struck its first piece at 8 p.m. and the ladies were already seated around the dance hall lit with three extra bright pressurized kerosene lamps. Some anxious gentlemen waited impatiently for the arrival of their favorite girls accompanied by chaperones, usually mom or an aunt. This dance was filled to capacity with teenagers and even some adult party couples. The entire village was around Daddy’s Club to enjoy the spectacle, which was interrupted a midnight for the “Misa de Gallo” or midnight mass at the Catholic Church.

Finally I miss one big important Christmas tradition of the past. Christmas day was celebrated big time family style. Housewives prepared a fabulous Chicken relleno in a pot that was fit to serve an army. The salted hams were boiled and ready for the sandwiches, or hors d’oeuvre in the case of the men. Large groups of family members and friends visited the homes with accordion and guitars to sing, eat and drink out their hearts until most of the goodies were exhausted and then moved over to another home to “do some more damage. And no housewife was angry at his invasion, because she too joined in this celebration- something uncommon in those days when women did not drink nor visited bars.

After a big Christmas celebration twenty five years ago, the village was dull and quiet; after all it would be another full year of waiting before another big event would come to the sleeping village of San Pedro, with more food, toys, new clothing, religious festivities, entertainment and the good old fashioned traditions. Whatever, from me to you, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. XOXOXO

– by Angel Nuñez, Columnist

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