The Christmas I will never forget - Paula Llewellyn was afraid of jonkanoo

December 14, 2016
Paula Llewellyn
The Port Maria Jonkanoo group, led by Clifford 'Calypso Jack' Walters.


There was a time when the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Paula Llewelyn exhibited fear.

Then, she was a little girl growing up in Pembroke Hall, St Andrew. Jonkanoo characters Pitchy Patchy, Belly Woman, Devil and Cow Head, and other members of the scary band visited the community to bring Christmas cheer one afternoon, long ago.

"I grew up in a household that as children, you couldn't stand up at the gate, especially when night was falling. You had to be in your home by 6 o' clock. But I remember a particular day when the Jonkanoo came around in Pembroke Hall. Oh, my goodness. That was one of the most exciting and frightening things that I have ever seen," the DPP recounted.

Not so long ago, the cry "Jonkanoo a come!' meant excitement was near.

Children of all ages, and even some adults, would often run away screaming, frightened by the more elaborate costumes.


Equally frightening


Occasionally, some of the individual characters like the Devil, might jab at them with his fork, escalating the fear factor.

"I was frightened because I was hiding behind my mother," Llewellyn said.

She told THE STAR that she had read about Jonkanoo, but to be face to face with the art form was just exhilarating and equally frightening.

"It is just unfortunate that custom seems to have died out," she said.

Llewellyn grew up in the Corporate Area with parents who were from Clarendon. Her father is from Frankfield and her mother from Sanguinetti.

"I come from a small family, but my father, who is a real country man, always prided himself on having a Christmas tree growing in the garden. So my sister and I, when we were little, daddy would say 'You girls, go for the Christmas tree lights'," she said.

"We always had to watch him untangle it and we would have to look at him dress the Christmas tree. I remember the year when both of us became big enough to actually untangle the Christmas tree lights, and actually dressed the tree ourselves, and the great sense of achievement that we felt," Llewellyn added.

There was also a time when she helped her mother to bake Christmas cake.

Today, she boasts about having helped to rub the mixture, pour the liquid, grease the tin, and put the mixture in the oven.

"It was a great sense of achievement. That and the putting up of the Christmas tree lights and ornaments are very special memories for me," Llewellyn said.

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