Easter in Jamaica is a very popular time of year. The religious celebration was introduced to the island around the 17th century by the Europeans who colonized the island, bringing their religion of Christianity with them. During slavery, the enslaved Africans were given a day off in observance of this Easter holiday. However, with the advent of various missionaries to the island in the 19th century, the slaves were introduced to the religious significance of the holiday and developed an appreciation of the holiday.
Over the years, the one-day holiday grew to be a four to five day observance in Jamaica, beginning with Holy Thursday and continuing until the following Monday, known as Easter Monday. The death and resurrection of Christ is observed during this period, and church goers attend solemn Good Friday services followed by colourful, musical and celebratory Easter Sunday services in the numerous churches across the island.
Like any other holiday, Easter is associated with several traditions – and – like most traditions in Jamaica, food is definitely involved! Probably the most common culinary feature of Easter in Jamaica is the eating of bun and cheese. Easter buns in Jamaica are made with lots of spices, dried fruits and stout. The dough is shaped in the form of a loaf and baked. Supermarket shelves are piled high with these sweet loaves, spiced with cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg, and bursting with raisins, currants and other dried fruit. The supermarket versions are wrapped in cellophane paper and sometimes packed in decorative boxes. The more patient and passionate bakers make their own home-made buns – just as rich and maybe even fruitier!
The very popular Jamaican Easter bun, is generally eaten with processed cheddar cheese. Needless to say, Easter is a time for sharing, so our Food Tour guests always get a little “brawta” (extra) in their desert tasting – some good ol’ homemade Easter Bun!
Not to worry, if you are visiting Jamaica outside of the Easter period, it is quite easy to find a less fancy version of the Easter Bun on many supermarket shelves often labelled as “Spicy Buns”. Though a little less rich than the traditional Easter Bun, it is still delicious and will give you more than an inkling of what real Easter Bun tastes like. We guarantee you’ll be back for more!
And if you’d like to try your hand at some homemade Easter bun, here’s a great recipe that’s easy to follow: http://ambergriscaye.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/461345/Home_Made_Jamaican_Easter_Bun.html
Happy Easter to you and yours!