Calypso Christmas â€“ NW Coast-style
‘Ow you like to sellybrate Krismus? You welcum de Saviour wiff de Reggae beat, Mun?'
In the days before Christmas, Anglicans in Ulverstone celebrated Christmas in Caribbean style with a Calypso Carols Service. Taking much of the year in the planning and preparation, we held our ‘regular’ Christmas Carols service on the Sunday morning before Christmas, but with a difference.
Many people already know Mary’s Boy-child, The Virgin Mary had a Baby Boy, See him lying in a bed of straw, and with six months' practice beforehand, the congregation at Holy Trinity, Ulverstone, set about learning some more.
Eventually, we had enough Christmas Carols and songs with at least some connection to the Caribbean to hold a Nine Lessons and ‘Calypso' Carols service. We also set our liturgy in the context of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John telling us why they recorded the coming of the Christ in the way they did.
The weekend before the Calypso Carols was the annual Ulverstone Christmas Street Parade and Mardi-gras. This year, storm-force winds kept us from our previous site in the park, but we joined the Parade. We had a ‘Rusta-Mun’ on stilts, some people in costume, palm trees and musical instruments, and others dancing along behind to the beat of the Calypso Carols being broadcast from the float. Banners on the truck invited the community to join in.
The following Sunday, approximately 50 ‘extras’ joined the regular congregation. For the Carols Service, people were encouraged to dress in theme.
The Church had its Christmas decorations, as well as a smattering of palm trees (even blow-up ones) and other tropical additions. Then followed a BBQ and tropical salad type of Christmas parish lunch. Many stayed on into the afternoon, enjoying the fellowship, and re-living the stories. The birth of the Saviour is celebrated all around the world in many different ways. This was one fun way to mark his coming.
Next year, we are planning an ANZ (Australian and New Zealand) Carols Service – but we might have a few months off before starting to learn the new songs!