Christmas occurs in the summer on St. Helena. So the Christmas fun and festivities have a outdoor flavour to them.
There are a lot of events in the weeks before Christmas. Schools have their Nativity plays, which you can go along to. Also many of the schools organise a Christmas Parade, dancing down the street in Jamestown in costume and along to music. In recent years, instead of a 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 music and dancing.
There is carol sining across the Island, with many houses alight with colour and decorations. One christmas tradition on St Helena is to get a newspaper for the many Saints from overseas sending Christmas greetings to relatives and friends on the Island. As a example the St Helena Independent contained 11 pages of greetings in 2013.
All these various celebrations reaches its pinale with the traditional Christmas Eve parade, for which most of the Island turns out for. Starting from about 4.30pm at the Hospital, themed floats slowly make their way to the Seafront. People dress up in custumes to dance along down the street with the floats, people line the street to watch and cheer on the revellers. The parade usually 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. The Christmas Eve parade is a highlight of the christmas period and enjoyed by all.
Christmas Day itself is a family affair. If you are visiting on Christmas Day, do make sure to arrange an invite beforehand as all shops, bars etc are closed.
Another Christmas highlight is on Boxing Day with the “Party on The Bridge”. Starting around 3pm with sports and fun races, mostly for the children but with novely adult events too. When night falls bands take the stage for the music and celebration to continue into the early hours of the following morning.
Between Christmas and New Year most offices are closed and shops have reduced opening hours. Saints spend this “Block Leave” period socialising with family and friends, or simply enjoying the break. New Year is more quietly celebrated, though the bars and clubs do the usual roaring trade.
A video of a old parade.