Let’s Talk About Celebrating Easter in the Caribbean
by Carolyn Lee Apr 4, 2022
For many, Easter is a time of acknowledging and commemorating the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. Easter usually features church services, festive family meals, and re-enactments of the crucifixion across the Caribbean. Over time, carnivals, kite flying festivals, and parties have become other popular Easter activities.
So, we grabbed a few people from different Caribbean islands and asked them to share their favourite Easter activities and what Easter means to them.
Celebrating the resurrection of Christ
“When I think of Easter, I think of the resurrection story and going to church, remembering that this is the time to celebrate Jesus dying for our sins and having victory in death. It also means spending time with loved ones and giving up something for Lent. It’s a time of joy, mourning, and celebration, and somehow chocolate Easter eggs!”
Passing on family and Easter traditions
Easter and Christmas have always been my favourite holidays. Easter and Christmas were always spent with loved ones when I was a child. Easter was fantastic because in Cayman, back then, people would build campsites on the beach around the island and spend the Easter weekend camping out. I remember as a child looking forward to Easter. We spent the nights on the beach. There was no AC, just the natural sea breeze, waking up and the water right there to jump in. We would cook food, fry fish and fritters, and do many other activities like Easter egg hunts. My favourite part of the weekend was taking long walks on the beach to visit other family members or friends who had their campsites along Seven Mile Beach. Now times have changed. Some people may still do this, and some may not. However, it’s a Cayman tradition that has been embedded in me that I will cherish, tell stories of to the younger generation, or have them experience adapting to changes today. As an adult, I still want to spend time with loved ones, eat fish and fritters and spend at least one day on the beach for Easter.” – Melisha McField, Cayman Islands – @dreamchaserscayman (IG)
A time to show love and compassion
“For me, Easter means bonding with family and friends and showing love and compassion around this season. It also means remembering the true meaning, which is to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord, and a day to remember his pain and suffering.”
Celebrating culture and good food with family
“My favourite Easter activity in Anguilla is visiting the annual seafood festival, “Festival Delmar.” This festival is a two-day celebration of Anguilla’s fishing heritage, featuring lobster, crayfish, snapper, and locally caught seafood. The festival is held in Island Harbour and promotes seafood, fun, drinks, and good energy each year.
I also enjoy spending the holidays watching my aunts cook different Good Friday dishes. My favourites are coconut tart and Conkie Dumpling, a local favourite. My family and I also gather and have various activities from sunrise to sunset in the yard, including egg and spoon race and Easter egg hunt.” – Lashawn Ruan-Hodge, Anguilla – @thestyleprofile (IG)
The ultimate display of God’s love
“I am Catholic, and I used to love the liturgical season of Advent. Over time, I started to love Lent and Easter more. While Advent is about waiting in joyful hope for the coming of the Lord, Easter is about the fulfilment of purpose. Easter aligns Jesus’ humanity with mine. It reminds me of the natural pattern of life, which is ‘suffering-blessing, trials-victory.’ It is the accurate and ultimate display of God’s love for me – Jesus dying to give me salvation by defeating death and sin and rising to provide me with the Holy Spirit and the promise of everlasting life. An eternal life = every day we suffer little deaths through trauma, trials, disappointment, illness, etc. But we also live an immortal life each time we rise from those little deaths. We keep going despite it all.” (Reference scripture: 2 Corinthians 4:8-12)
Bonding with the community in a meaningful way
“I enjoy Stations of the Cross on Good Friday morning. The entire community comes out to walk the way of the cross. The willingness of people to show that they understand and appreciate the suffering of the saviour is truly touching and I enjoy being a part of that.” – Allison McIntyre, Trinidad and Tobago.
We observe communion and other religious practices.
“Whenever I hear Easter, I think of church, kites, and food. I grew up religious, so Easter, for me, usually involves church. Good Friday is usually communion and “foot washing. As an adult, Easter has become a little bland. So, I’d be thrilled if I could fly a kite on a field right now.”
Easter in St Kitts – Church, kites, and food!
As a child, I looked forward to kite flying in the afternoon. My mom would buy the kite on the weekend, and we would set it up and go and fly the kites on Good Friday. It was a lovely practice that involved the entire community, and all the kids would participate. Some of the younger kids would learn how to fly a kite for the first time. There were different types of kites – commercial, plastic, and paper kites in different shapes and colours, with some having long or extravagant tails. This practice has diminished over the years. I also think of food during Easter. In St Kitts, we eat dumplings and saltfish for lunch on Good Friday.” – Stephen Smith, St Kitts and Nevis – @stephenlovsmith (IG)
Belizeans participate in religious re-enactments and cultural activities.
“Growing up in a Christian household and attending Catholic schools, Easter is a time commemorating the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. As an adult, Easter is now an extended four-day holiday and a time to unwind. In Belize, like many other Caribbean islands, Good Friday is a public and bank holiday where all stores are closed, and the sale of alcohol is prohibited. On Holy Saturday, Belizeans tune in to their radios to listen to the annual Cross Country Cycling Classic where riders endure the heat and strong April winds for hundreds of miles riding from one district to another. Easter also boasts the best weather and is known as kite season because of the delicious Easterly winds and clear skies. While salt, fishing, and the cayes are famous, the Mestizos of Western Belize perform live re-enactments of the crucifixion of Jesus on the cross.”
We enjoy nature, good food, and family.
“My favourite thing to do during Easter is to head out to one of the over 400 islands (Cayes) that dot the coast of Belize. Easter means saltwater, family, and food, especially the traditional Hot Cross Bun and fish on all Fridays during Lent. Easter Sunday is for BBQ, especially lamb and pork. Boating, swimsuits, and swimming are common during Easter in Belize, but don’t you dare get in the water on Good Friday, as all Belizeans know that you will turn into a mermaid!” – Sean Kuylen, Belize – @chefseankuylen
We hope you enjoyed reading about Easter in these Caribbean countries. Have a peaceful and blessed Easter, everyone!