Christmas is a time of year when we celebrate our cultures and traditions. And where else to celebrate those heartwarming traditions, if not at the gran’ market?
Well, get ready for a celebration of ‘Christmas in the Caribbean’, here in New York City, on December 14 & 15.
Braata Productions will once again offer New Yorkers an exciting and colorful taste of a traditional Caribbean Christmas, when it presents its annual Old Time Grand Market celebration at two venues in the city.
First up, will be the Harry Truman High School auditorium, located in Co-op City, Bronx, on Saturday, December 14. The vendor’s market will ‘open for business’ at 5:30 pm, followed by the concert segment at 7:00 pm.
Folks in Queens, Manhattan and Staten Island, will get their sampling of the annual yuletide traditions a day later on Sunday, December 15, at The Park Church Coop, 129 Russel Street, in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.
The vendor’s grand market will open at 3:30 pm, to be followed by the Christmas concert at 5:00 pm.
Seeped in holiday traditions, ‘Grand Market’ – is a one stop offering of music, food, craft vendors and numerous activities for children and families, in an atmosphere of merriment and merchandizing. However, by including performers and participants from the Caribbean, Braata has dramatically expanded the appeal and the audience for the event, over the past six year.
“Ole time gran’ market is important to help keep the Caribbean holiday traditions and practices alive among our people, so we don’t forget where our traditions started and how they make us feel”, offered Andrew Clarke, who will celebrate his seventh season as producer of the annual event.
Sharing the main stage with the Braata Folks Singers this year, will be The Batingua Arts Ensemble, representing Trinidad & Tobago and the nationally acclaimed balladeer and recording artiste, Pluto Shervington, from Kingston, Jamaica.
Though a largely Jamaican tradition at Christmas time, ‘Ole Time Grand Market’ incorporates the wider Caribbean Diaspora and encourages broad-based support, evidenced by its growth and success over the years.
“When we started in 2013, we had no idea how we would be received. The spirit of the traditional Caribbean Christmas was fading somewhat in New York, and we thought this would evoke a bit of nostalgia for some and be a source of cultural education for others”, offered Clarke, who conceived the traditional (Braata) folk and culture ensemble in 2009.
Vendors participating in this family friendly event, will be selling everything from food and craft items to toys and Christmas specialties. Patrons and especially first generation Jamaicans will be taken back in time to the days of pound, shilling and pence (national currency), artifacts including clothes iron, chimmey (bed pan), and displays of holiday treats like black cake, punch a crème and sorrel, that make Christmas time, a holiday like no other.
The Jonkanoo Parade is sure to raise the level of awe and excitement across all age groups while browsing thru’ the marketplace!
“It’s a collaborative with a number of cultural groups, restaurants and key stakeholders who see the need to keep our culture vibrant and expose it to our younger generation, who are not so familiar.”
This year’s community partners are Team Jamaica Bickle (TJB) and the Jamaica Progressive League (JPL).
Tickets for both shows are available on the Braata Productions website and at select Caribbean outlets in the boroughs. Tickets are $25 pre-sold, $30 at the door and $20 for seniors and students with ID, at the door.
For tickets and information, call (917) 668.2209. See also www.braataproductions.org .