Primary Language: English
Other Language(s): French
Residence: New York City, USA
Performance Date: April 13, 2017 (Skype)
Carlton is a 59-year old man, born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica who is a superintendent of a large apartment building in New York City. He immigrated to the United States over 38 years ago.
Interviewer: Good Morning. Do you have a family story about when you lived in Jamaica.
Informant: “Sure. I am from Jamaica and in Jamaica traditionally during Easter we bake buns and cheese and that is what we have for gifts that we eat that during Easter and so my father would always would always go and we would make these buns in ovens so we would light the fire and bake these buns and get them glazed and sell them to all the people, and give them as gifts and so on. So Easter is was a very traditional thing where people go to church and worship on Good Friday and it was very quiet. No one in in the store or shop so you just had people go to church and worshiping. That was a tradition of my family and others in Jamaica”
Interviewer: You mentioned that your father would bake the buns at Easter. Is this common for Jamaica men to bake on Easter?
Informant: “No I don’t think so as far as I know, I can only speak about my father. It was a very special indeed special memory for me and me sisters. He never did anything in the kitchen. He said that was women’s work. But on Easter this was his special tradition and that he had to carry out and me and my sisters were expected to help him out. He was so so very serious about this. He would even wrap our hands if he caught us tasting the sweet glaze of the buns. I just remember him being so proud that he did this and I think he was doing this so we would always think of him, he died a few years back, when me and sisters celebrate Easter with our families”.
Interviewer: Do you carry on this tradition with your family?
Informant: “Sorry to say I do not. I feel this was a um very very special thing that my father did and I cherish this memory of him when I celebrate Easter with my family here in the US.”
Interviewer: Thank You and I wish you a Happy Easter.
Thoughts about the piece:
Food is a powerful memory aid to immigrants like my informant. This British import is a Good Friday treat, which may have roots in ancient Babylon. It has been adapted for Jamaicans by the addition of local molasses. The cross bun song can be found at: http://keepitjiggy.com/2011/03/a-jamaican-easter-bun-and-cheese/ Here is a recipe for making homemade Jamaican hot cross buns: http://eatjamaican.com/recipes/Jamaican-hot-cross-bun.html