Contrasting generations at Christmas
Although Leoline Gibson and Anice Boyd grew up in different centuries, both St Mary residents highlight the significance of Grand Market night during the Christmas holiday.
And the two women agree their perceptions of the festive period have changed due to an increase in violent crime.
Gibson, 74, was born and raised in Portland during the 1940s, but says the first Christmas experience she remembers clearly took place around 1952 in a small district close to St Mary's capital, Port Maria.
She told THE STAR: "I can't remember much, but I know we used to go to the Grand Market and that I used to get a lot of things for Christmas. Altogether, it was nice. I live in Highgate now, but back then I was going to Black Hill School in Portland," she said.
She said that one Christmas when she was about nine or 10, she remembered 'bucking' her toe and no one could get it better.
"So they had to take me to Buff Bay Hospital, where a doctor took out a nail."
She said Christmas changed when she came to St Mary and started going to Port Maria School.
"That's when I came to Bailey's Vale and saw jonkanoo dancers for the first time, and I remember feeling a bit scared," she laughed. "I would say things are a little worse now because the crime and violence wasn't that prevalent, so you'd hear about people dying, but they were natural deaths."
Boyd, 17, agrees, noting that in the 21st century, the traditional family values associated with Christmas have been replaced by a penchant for revelry and merriment.
The Marymount High School student from Boscobel said she doesn't get the same feeling she used to when she was younger, mainly because Christmas has changed.
"People have got more violent and it's just not the same anymore. Persons just want to go out to party, drink, and smoke, when really we just need to sit down with family and friends, play some games, and talk to each other," she said.
Boyd said her earliest Christmas memory is of being with her grandmother in Retreat in the parish.
"I was about 10 years old, a lot of family members were there, and we had fun. That was the first time I experienced so many different types of food: oxtail, pork, ham, turkey, and sorrel. That was my first actual Christmas because I got an experience I will never forget," she said.
Boyd added: "I think things have changed because some persons don't find their home as much fun as going out and drinking. Some are alcoholics and others are addicted to smoking, so when this time of year comes, they get to do what they want without any parental guidance, especially on Grand Market night."