blank [Saint Helena Island Info:Christmas Celebrations]

Christmas Celebrations

A great time to be here

blank [Saint Helena Island Info:Christmas Celebrations]

In the old days, it was not called the ‘Holiday Season’; the Christians called it ‘Christmas’ and went to church; the Jews called it ‘Hanukkah’ and went to synagogue; the atheists went to parties and drank. People passing each other on the street would say ‘Merry Christmas!’ or ‘Happy Hanukkah!’ or (to the atheists) ‘Look out for the wall!’.
Dave Barry in ‘Christmas Shopping: A Survivor’s Guide’

Christmas in St Helena occurs in the early summer{1} so the fun and festivities have a distinctly outdoor flavour.

This page is in indexes: Island Activity, Island Detail

Christmas .

Go to: How we celebrate ChristmasChristmas PastA snowman in St Helena?Read More

How we celebrate Christmas

Christmas Celebrations A great time to be here [Saint Helena Island Info:Christmas Celebrations]
Christmas Celebrations A great time to be here
Festival of Lights [Saint Helena Island Info:Christmas Celebrations]
Festival of Lights
Carol singing outside The Canister [Saint Helena Island Info:Christmas Celebrations]
Carol singing outside The Canister
Christmas greetings [Saint Helena Island Info:Christmas Celebrations]
Christmas greetings

There are a number of significant events in the weeks before Christmas. All the schools have Nativity plays and due to the relaxed atmnosphere on St Helena nobody would mind if you went along{2}. Also many of the schools organise a Christmas Parade, dancing down the street in Jamestown in costume and with music blaring from every vehicle!

Various groups can also be heard singing carols in Jamestown, usually outside the Tourist Office building. The churches of St Helena organise carol festivals and other special services to prepare for Christmas. A tour around Jamestown, and especially in the main housing area of Half Tree Hollow, will show that Saints love Christmas lights - almost every house is festooned in a variety of colours and designs.

In recent years, instead of a daytime parade, Pilling School has organised a ‘Festival of Lights’ which takes place after dark and features candles, sparklers, torches and lit floats, as well as the normal music and dancing. Everyone dresses with sparkling lights and the effect is quite magical! In the 2015 Festival of Lights, with the theme ‘Last Christmas with the RMS’, around 20 floats participated, including one decorated as the RMS.

Nightclub advert [Saint Helena Island Info:Christmas Celebrations]
Nightclub advert

At this time the island’s newspaper is full of adverts, but surprisingly not all of these are from shops selling christmas wares. Many are from Saints overseas sending Christmas greetings to relatives on the island, or resident Saints sending best wishes to family overseas (or both!). There were eleven pages of these in the 2013 St Helena Independent.

Everything culminates in the Christmas Eve parade. Most of the island takes part, either dressing up in costumes and dancing down the main street in Jamestown, or lining the roadside to watch and cheer on the revellers. Every float plays its own selection of music and most are themed. The parade leaves the Hospital, at the top of town, at about 4pm and wends its way slowly down to the seafront, stopping frequently for dancing with audience participation, so it usually reaches the seafront as it is growing dark. After one final dance the revellers distribute themselves around the various pubs and clubs, collecting tin in one hand and drink in the other. The party goes on until midnight when, by law, all the pubs and clubs must close for Christmas Day.

Christmas day itself is a family day. People eat a mostly-traditional English Christmas Dinner (except that curry is usually also an option) and spend the day with family and friends. If you are going to be here on Christmas Day make sue you get to know some Saints before hand so you are assured of an invite for the day{3}.

Boxing Day sees the biggest event of Christmas on St Helena - the ‘Party on The Bridge’. This starts about 3pm with sports and fun races, mostly for the children but with novely adult events too. Then as darkness falls the first of the evening’s bands takes the stage. The music and celebrations continue well into the early hours of next morning.

Between Christmas and New Year most offices are closed and shops work on skeleton staff with much reduced opening hours. Saints spend this ‘Block Leave’ period socialising with family and friends; especially the many visiting Saints who live and work overseas and come back for Christmas maybe one year in five.

As in England, New Year is more quietly celebrated, though the bars and clubs do the usual roaring trade.

And then it’s time to go back to work…until next year!

Boxing Day on The Bridge, 2010 [Saint Helena Island Info:Christmas Celebrations]
Boxing Day on The Bridge, 2010

Here are some other pictures:

Christmas Eve Parade, 2014 [Saint Helena Island Info:Christmas Celebrations]

Festival of Lights, 2016 [Saint Helena Island Info:Christmas Celebrations]{a}

Christmas Parade, 2011 [Saint Helena Island Info:Christmas Celebrations]

Christmas Eve Parade, 2009 [Saint Helena Island Info:Christmas Celebrations]

Christmas Eve Parade, 2011 [Saint Helena Island Info:Christmas Celebrations]

Festival of Lights, 2016 [Saint Helena Island Info:Christmas Celebrations]{b}

Christmas Eve Parade, 2010 [Saint Helena Island Info:Christmas Celebrations]

Festival of Lights, 2015 [Saint Helena Island Info:Christmas Celebrations]

Festival of Lights, 2015 [Saint Helena Island Info:Christmas Celebrations]

Christmas Eve Parade, 2014 [Saint Helena Island Info:Christmas Celebrations]

Christmas Parade, 2010 [Saint Helena Island Info:Christmas Celebrations]

Festival of Lights, 2015 [Saint Helena Island Info:Christmas Celebrations]

Christmas Eve Parade, 2011 [Saint Helena Island Info:Christmas Celebrations]

Festival of Lights, 2014 [Saint Helena Island Info:Christmas Celebrations]

Festival of Lights, 2015 [Saint Helena Island Info:Christmas Celebrations]

Christmas Eve Parade, 2014 [Saint Helena Island Info:Christmas Celebrations]

Festival of Lights, 2015 [Saint Helena Island Info:Christmas Celebrations]

Festival of Lights, 2015 [Saint Helena Island Info:Christmas Celebrations]

Christmas Eve Parade, 2010 [Saint Helena Island Info:Christmas Celebrations]

Tree, 2016 [Saint Helena Island Info:Christmas Celebrations]

Christmas Eve Parade, 2014 [Saint Helena Island Info:Christmas Celebrations]

Festival of Lights, 2015 [Saint Helena Island Info:Christmas Celebrations]

Festival of Lights, 2014 [Saint Helena Island Info:Christmas Celebrations]

Festival of Lights, 2016 [Saint Helena Island Info:Christmas Celebrations]{a}

Christmas Eve Parade and Boxing Day ‘Party on The Bridge’ [Saint Helena Island Info:Christmas Celebrations]
Christmas Eve Parade and Boxing Day ‘Party on The Bridge’{c}

The Last Christmas of the RMS St Helena 1 [Saint Helena Island Info:Christmas Celebrations]

For Christmas 2015 the moonbeamsforall.com • Moonbeams Shop • opens in a new window or tab [Saint Helena Island Info:Christmas Celebrations]Moonbeams Shop Christmas decorations had the theme ‘The Last Christmas of the RMS St Helena’, reflecting that with the opening of the St Helena Airport in 2016, the RMS St Helena would be decomissioned, so 2015 would be her last Christmas serving St Helena.

This theme was also used by Pilling Primary School in their 2015 Festival of Lights.

However, as the Airport opening was delayed the RMS was actually continued through Christmas 2016.

The Last Christmas of the RMS St Helena 2 [Saint Helena Island Info:Christmas Celebrations]

Christmas Past

The following greetings cards were available in St Helena in the 1920s:

Xmas Cards, 1920s [Saint Helena Island Info:Christmas Celebrations]

A snowman in St Helena?

Levelwood ‘snowman’ [Saint Helena Island Info:Christmas Celebrations]

Well, almost. The following scene is painted on a garage door in Levelwood. It seems it’s been there since the middle 1980s and it hasn’t melted yet!

Read More

Article: “Christmas stories from St Helena

From Our Own Correspondent from BBC Online 22nd December 2012{4}

In Britain, thoughts are turning to Christmas this weekend, as many workers get a break and shops welcome one last influx of customers before the holiday. But on the Atlantic island of St Helena, a British possession since 1934, Christmas arrived weeks ago. The island’s remoteness means that it is heavily reliant on ships going to and from the British Isles. The deadline for Christmas postal shipments was in mid-November. But with the construction of a new airport, change is coming to the island. Horatio Clare reports.

Presented by Pascale Harter.

Click on the icon to hear this audio file: 

(right-click to download) 

Click here to listen [Saint Helena Island Info:Christmas Celebrations] (2.4Mb)

More stories [Saint Helena Island Info:Christmas Celebrations]

More stories on our page Read articles about St Helena.

closinghumourimage [Saint Helena Island Info:Christmas Celebrations]

Laugh at funny christmas humour - LOL [Saint Helena Island Info:Christmas Celebrations]

Santa aircraft [Saint Helena Island Info:Christmas Celebrations]


Credits:

{a} Ed Thorpe

{b} www.facebook.com/sainthelenalocal

{c} St Helena Independent



Footnotes:

{1} Because we are in the Southern Hemisphere

{2} But best to contact the school in advance, particularly if you wish to take photographs or a video

{3} Otherwise you will need to cater for yourself because absolutely everything will be closed!

{4} Reproduced for educational non-commercial use only; all copyrights are acknowledged



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