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Folkore and Christmas in The Caribbean

It was a nagging question that was floating around. What is it with Duppies and Grotesque characters around Christmas? How can one of the most joyous occasions have such haunting characters? We checked it out and this is what we got.

25368534091_1aac7bcc86_kJamaica

Duppy©TheoJunior/Flickr

Europeans brought Christianity to the Caribbean and with this Christmas was brought also. European Christmas customs have been somewhat maintained, for example, Christmas morning services, feasting on Christmas Day, the giving of gifts, Christmas cards, Santa Claus and Christmas trees. But African slaves in Jamaica created their own customs, which became popular right away. Duppies (ghosts) in the countryside, the Three-Foot Horse, known for its irregular hoofbeats, and the Rolling Calf, who terrifies the hearts of rural folks with dragging chains along the pathways at night, all come out during Christmas time. They are popularized during Christmas through stories, parades, and parties to go along with their feasts.

 

Antigua

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Migoi, Yeti Mask, the Abominable Snowman, street bazaar, Kathmandu, Nepal©Wonderlane/Flickr

In Antigua, Grotesque characters such as an African witch doctor, and Tall ghosts go hand in hand with Christmas. Dressed in dried banana leaves and tatty clothes, the grotesque characters are said to be fashioned after their British masters. Tall Ghosts are huge figures on stilts with masked faces, that peep into the upstairs windows of homes on Market Street to scare little children.