Easter in the Caribbean is celebrated with great fanfare, solemn dress and wonderful foods. Since the islands of the Caribbean are mainly Christian, visitors can expect to find celebration in many forms to recognize the risen Savior. Some of the traditions are Christian mixed with Caribbean culture. Most are unique to these islands where residents are devout, but not just with one religion.
Before the Lenten season begins, Carnival celebrations abound. The drinking, daring costumes and party atmosphere are a great contrast to the attitudes on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. On Friday, expect to find congregations of women dressed in white and black, expressing the solemnity of the cross and the burial of Jesus.
After church on Easter Sunday, expect another mood change. People are happy as they celebrate the resurrection with dinners spread with all kinds of traditional foods. Where on Friday the island people could only eat fish and vegetables, Sunday the tables are filled with spiced buns filled with currants, dried fruits and cinnamon. These Easter buns are eaten with different cheeses. Codfish cakes, grilled Snapper and plenty of yams will make the other dishes.
Christianity mixed with superstition and local lore is very common on the islands.
Eggs are not colored and hid on the beaches for Easter on the islands. Rather, egg whites are dropped in Holy Water on Maundy Thursday. By Good Friday the egg whites are supposed to display a pattern. Locals use these patterns to predict the future. In Haiti, Easter is celebrated with a mix of Christian and Voodoo traditions. Rara music, bands, and visits to church for the Christians and Souvenance for those who practice Voodoo. Some worship the African spirits while others worship Christ.
Another popular tradition is ‘Beat the Bobolee’. Judas Iscariot, the betrayer of Jesus, is symbolized by the Bobolee. These figures are fashioned from old clothes and rags and tied to a tree. Then the residents take great joy in beating the Bobolee to pieces. This symbolizes how they felt about the hated betrayer.
Kite-flying and making is a serious tradition practiced during the Easter holiday. Kite makers on Barbados fashion their kites and then go the beaches to fly them. Whole families will be there with picnic baskets. Flying kites is supposed to symbolize the resurrected Christ. Visitors will love seeing the colorful display against the blue sky. However, getting in the water is supposed to be bad juju. Locals believe stepping into the water during this somber celebration will turn people to fish. Others believe it is simply disrespectful to sunbathe during this serious holiday.The Caribbean islands are a wonderful Easter destination no matter what you believe. Enjoy Easter on the islands.