Nine Mornings in the Southern Grenadines
December 27, 2013
Nine Mornings in the Southern Grenadines

Fri Dec 27, 2013

Story and photos by Donald De Riggs

Except you are bringing your “trailer load” to make up the numbers, don’t expect to see massive crowds for Nine Mornings in the Southern Grenadines.{{more}}

Despite the fact that the local festivity is about a number, in the Grenadines it is not so much about the number of persons attending, but the qualitative and cultural aspect of the festivity that creates the Christmas mood.

While on an assignment in Union Island and Mayreau, ensuring that the emergency communications equipment was in order and functioning, I took the opportunity to savour our local culture, albeit in a different setting and what a memorable activity it turned out to be.

Before going further, I would like encourage the folks responsible for marketing our tourism product to remind visitors and returning nationals that they now have the choice of attending Nine Mornings in nine different communities each morning. This will no doubt be a great opportunity for taxi operators, car rental companies and vendors plying their early morning trade in fresh fruit, notably oranges and bananas, with others providing local delights like cocoa tea, bakes, breadfruit and souse, blackfish, saltfish, sorrel and ginger beer, to mention the more popular treats.

Back to Union Island. Early morning hot mint bush tea, local corned fish “buol-joul”, home-made coconut bakes were gourmets’ delights; the balloon blowing contests, dramatisations, Christmas carols, physical fitness exercises all kept the patrons entertained and involved. And of course the children won prizes for correctly answering a variety of quizzes from sponors including Lambi, Grand Union supermarket, Glenroy Adams and LIME. The interaction between the MC and participants was great, despite two welcome showers of rain that had all persons scrambling for shelter.

This year, as in the recent past, a Nine Mornings Committee, spearheaded by Rosetta Alexander, ensured that Nine Mornings activities were staged.The Alexander, family is now well known among others for keeping Union Island traditions alive. Each morning following the Nine Mornings activity, members of the Nine Mornings Committee responsibly cleaned the area where the activities were staged. Union Island is a prime tourist destination, with an influx of visitors at this time of the year.

If you are the party type, then Mayreau is the place to enjoy Nine Mornings. That is not to say that the religious are marginalised, far from it. The Mayreau Christian Revival Centre holds regular early morning services, where the nativity story is shared and an abundance of Christmas carols sung. Chatting with some of the older Mayreau residents, they fondly remember the days when there were string bands with the accompanying “bom drums”, but that aspect of the cultural tradition will re-appear as history has a way of sometimes repeating itself.

A unique aspect of the Mayreau Nine Mornings is that the venue changes every day. Persons who like dancing can exercise to DJ music, including Christmas parang, reggae and calypso, reminiscent of the Nine Mornings $1 fetes in St Vincent in the 70’s and 80’s, followed by an early morning swim in the pristine waters surrounding Mayreau. The only difference is that these fetes are free. Of course, you can get the traditional corned fish and bakes and occasional sea moss drink, but not every morning. So, when you want a different experience for Nine Mornings, the Southern Grenadines is ready to welcome you.