The Spirit and Traditions of Christmas on St Helena

Street Lights In Jamestown Fairy lights always seem to have a magical effect on Jamestown.  Strings of coloured bulbs criss-cross the lower streets for this special time of year, lifting spirits and luminosity of the island's capital. This is Castle Gardens lit for Christmas 2015.

Street Lights In Jamestown
This is Castle Gardens lit for Christmas 2015.

St Helena Christmas Photo Album | Sharon Henry

The best time to visit St Helena is at Christmas when the agapanthus bloom, lights go up, carollers sing and the streets play host to festive parades.  At this time of year so many Saints return home for family holidays you can almost feel the island tilt when they step ashore.  And because everybody knows everyone, it’s like a big reunion.  The sun comes out, the island buzzes and the ‘Christmas spirit’ becomes almost palpable.

Feeling that spirit comes not from fretting over the Christmas shopping, cleaning the house or the value of a gift but gathering family and friends to enjoy each other’s company.

The Christmas calendar is full of events in the lead up to the big day creating a wonderful atmosphere.

Here is a photo collection of a ‘St Helena Christmas’ to tug at the heart strings of islanders overseas and to entice everyone else to come for a visit.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Street Lights In Jamestown Fairy lights always seem to have a magical effect on Jamestown.  Strings of coloured bulbs criss-cross the lower streets for this special time of year, lifting spirits and luminosity of the island's capital. This shot is looking up Main Street, Christmas 2008.

Street Lights In Jamestown
Fairy lights always seem to have a magical effect on Jamestown. Strings of coloured bulbs criss-cross the lower streets for this special time of year, lifting spirits and luminosity of the island’s capital.
This shot is looking up Main Street, Christmas 2008.

Christmas Street Parade - St Paul's Primary School The last week in school before the break for Christmas holidays is super exciting for kids, especially so for St Paul's Primary whose Christmas parade is so infectious it'll get you in that festive mood. Here is a float taking part in the 2016 parade.

St Helena Christmas Street Parade – St Paul’s Primary School
The last week in school before the break for Christmas holidays is super exciting for kids, especially so for St Paul’s Primary whose Christmas parade is so infectious it’ll get you in that festive mood.
Here is a float taking part in the 2016 parade.

Christmas Street Parade - St Paul's Primary School The last week in school before the break for Christmas holidays is super exciting for kids, especially so for St Paul's Primary whose Christmas parade is so infectious it'll get you in that festive mood. Here is the 2016 parade pausing on The Bridge to perform their dance routines.

St Helena Christmas Street Parade – St Paul’s Primary School
The last week in school before the break for Christmas holidays is super exciting for kids, especially so for St Paul’s Primary whose Christmas parade is so infectious it’ll get you in that festive mood.
Here is the 2016 parade pausing on The Bridge to perform their dance routines.

Donkey Rides - The Donkey Home To ride a real donkey like Mary did in the Christmas Story visit the Donkey Home at Blue Hill, (weight restrictions apply).  The charity's Saturday morning donkey walking is quite the tourist attraction.  This year there were also donkey rides at Plantation House's first Christmas Market.

Donkey Rides – The Donkey Home
To ride a real donkey like Mary did in the Christmas Story visit the St Helena Donkey Home at Blue Hill, (weight restrictions apply). The charity’s Saturday morning donkey walking is quite the tourist attraction. This year there were also donkey rides at Plantation House’s first Christmas Market.

Carollers Outside The Canister Once December hits, Christmas music is everywhere on St Helena, playing on the radio and carollers in the street.  Charity, voluntary and youth groups take advantage of the population swell to help raise money for their causes, spreading holiday cheer in the process. Here are carollers from SHAPE in 2016 performing outside the Canister.

Carollers Outside The Canister – Christmas on St Helena
Once December hits, Christmas music is everywhere on St Helena, playing on the radio and carollers in the street. Charity, voluntary and youth groups take advantage of the population swell to help raise money for their causes, spreading holiday cheer in the process.
Here are carollers from SHAPE in 2016 performing outside the Canister.

Agapanthus - Christmas on St Helena These flowers grow in blue and white varieties and heralds the festive season on St Helena as they only bloom through November to January.  Also known as the African Lily they make wonderful cut flowers for the home and are used to dress the graves of loved ones.

Agapanthus – Christmas on St Helena
These flowers grow in blue and white varieties and heralds the festive season on St Helena as they only bloom through November to January. Also known as the African Lily they make wonderful cut flowers for the home and are used to dress the graves of loved ones.

Festival Of Lights - Pilling Primary School This dazzling street parade made its debut in 2012 and has become the most popular event on the Christmas calendar.  Organised by Pilling Primary School the long procession snakes through the town like an electric eel, dripping with fairy lights, glow sticks and decorations.  Everyone is invited to join in. This is the scene at the top of Main Street in 2015 as the school cheerleaders dance on the roundabout.

Festival Of Lights – Pilling Primary School
This dazzling street parade made its debut in 2012 and has become the most popular event on the St Helena Christmas calendar. Organised by Pilling Primary School the long procession snakes through the town like an electric eel, dripping with fairy lights, glow sticks and decorations. Everyone is invited to join in.
This is the scene at the top of Main Street for Festival of Lights 2015, school cheerleaders dance on the roundabout.

Festival Of Lights - Pilling Primary School This dazzling street parade made its debut in 2012 and has become the most popular event on the Christmas calendar.  Organised by Pilling Primary School the long procession snakes through the town like an electric eel, dripping with fairy lights, glow sticks and decorations.  Everyone is invited to join in. This is the very first Festival of Lights parade in 2012 passing the Post Office building in Main Street, Jamestown.

Festival Of Lights – Pilling Primary School
This dazzling street parade made its debut in 2012 and has become the most popular event on the St Helena Christmas calendar. Organised by Pilling Primary School the long procession snakes through the town like an electric eel, dripping with fairy lights, glow sticks and decorations. Everyone is invited to join in.
This is the very first Festival of Lights parade in 2012 passing the Post Office building in Main Street, Jamestown.

Carol Singing On Rosemary Plain - Salvation Army  The grassy location lends a 'party in the park' type feel to this event as carollers lay out blankets and sit on deck chairs for a sing-a-long with the Salvation Army, who do a wonderful job hosting similar events across the island over the festive period. This is a sunny December afternoon in 2014.

Carol Singing On Rosemary Plain – Salvation Army
The grassy location lends a ‘party in the park’ type feel to this event as carollers lay out blankets and sit on deck chairs for a sing-a-long with the Salvation Army, who do a wonderful job hosting similar events across the island over the festive period.
This is a sunny December afternoon in 2014. Christmas on St Helena.

Carol Singing On Rosemary Plain - Salvation Army  The grassy location lends a 'party in the park' type feel to this event as carollers lay out blankets and sit on deck chairs for a sing-a-long with the Salvation Army, who do a wonderful job hosting similar events across the island over the festive period.

Carol Singing On Rosemary Plain – Salvation Army
The grassy location lends a ‘party in the park’ type feel to this event as carollers lay out blankets and sit on deck chairs for a sing-a-long with the Salvation Army, who do a wonderful job hosting similar events across the island over the festive period. Christmas on St Helena.

Let The People Sing - The Gettogethers Band and The Salvation Army This tradition began in 1974, a programme of community singing of carols and Christmas songs accompanied by a brass band.  Bandmaster, Eric Benjamin often says, it is designed "to get the Christmas feeling going."  People in the audience are encouraged to sing a solo number onstage with the backing of the orchestra. Pictured: 'Let The People Sing' being held at the Mule Yardl in 2015.

Let The People Sing – The Gettogethers Band and The Salvation Army
This tradition began in 1974, a programme of community singing of carols and Christmas songs accompanied by a brass band. Bandmaster, Eric Benjamin often says, it is designed “to get the Christmas feeling going.” People in the audience are encouraged to sing a solo number onstage with the backing of the orchestra.
Pictured: ‘Let The People Sing’ being held at the Mule Yard in 2015.

Let The People Sing - The Gettogethers Band and The Salvation Army This tradition began in 1974, a programme of community singing of carols and Christmas songs accompanied by a brass band.  Bandmaster, Eric Benjamin often says, it is designed "to get the Christmas feeling going."  People in the audience are encouraged to sing a solo number onstage with the backing of the orchestra. Pictured: 'Let The People Sing' being held at The Consulate Hotel in 2005 with guest singers.

Let The People Sing – The Gettogethers Band and The Salvation Army
This tradition began in 1974, a programme of community singing of carols and Christmas songs accompanied by a brass band. Bandmaster, Eric Benjamin often says, it is designed “to get the Christmas feeling going.” People in the audience are encouraged to sing a solo number onstage with the backing of the orchestra.
Pictured: ‘Let The People Sing’ being held at The Consulate Hotel in 2005 with guest singers.

Let The People Sing - The Gettogethers Band and The Salvation Army This tradition began in 1974, a programme of community singing of carols and Christmas songs accompanied by a brass band.  Bandmaster, Eric Benjamin often says, it is designed "to get the Christmas feeling going."  People in the audience are encouraged to sing a solo number onstage with the backing of the orchestra. Pictured on the right in 2016 is the youngest member of the orchestra, Jordana Peters at 11 years old, taking part in her first 'Let The People Sing.'

Let The People Sing – The Gettogethers Band and The Salvation Army
This tradition began in 1974, a programme of community singing of carols and Christmas songs accompanied by a brass band. Bandmaster, Eric Benjamin often says, it is designed “to get the Christmas feeling going.” People in the audience are encouraged to sing a solo number onstage with the backing of the orchestra.
Pictured on the right in 2016 is the youngest member of the orchestra, Jordana Peters at 11 years old, taking part in her first ‘Let The People Sing.’

Christmas Eve Parade - St Helena A mix of Santa's (fat and slim), Mrs Claus', elves and tinselled well wishes take part in the last parade of the year on Christmas Eve.  A live band follows the procession on a float playing the tunes for a party atmosphere. This vehicle 'float' was bringing the cheer on Christmas Eve 2013 in Jamestown.

Christmas Eve Parade – St Helena
A mix of Santa’s (fat and slim), Mrs Claus’, elves and tinselled well wishes take part in the last parade of the year on Christmas Eve. A live band follows the procession on a float playing the tunes for a party atmosphere.
This vehicle ‘float’ was bringing the cheer on Christmas Eve 2013 in Jamestown.

Christmas Eve Parade A mix of Santa's (fat and slim), Mrs Claus', elves and tinselled well wishes take part in the last parade of the year on Christmas Eve.  A live band follows the procession on a float playing the tunes for a party atmosphere. Here we see Christmas Eve celebrations in 2005.

Christmas Eve Parade – St Helena
A mix of Santa’s (fat and slim), Mrs Claus’, elves and tinselled well wishes take part in the last parade of the year on Christmas Eve. A live band follows the procession on a float playing the tunes for a party atmosphere.
Here we see Christmas Eve celebrations in 2005.

St John's Christmas Lilies No home is complete without the heady perfume of these elegant flowers; they are the 'smell of Christmas' here on St Helena.  St John's lilies are more widely known as Easter lilies, Trumpet lilies or White Heaven and can grow a metre tall with clusters of up to nine buds and a spread of 30cm.

St John’s Christmas Lilies
No home is complete without the heady perfume of these elegant flowers; they are the ‘smell of Christmas’ here on St Helena. St John’s lilies are more widely known as Easter lilies, Trumpet lilies or White Heaven and can grow a metre tall with clusters of up to nine buds and a spread of 30cm.

Ecumenical Carol Service At The Grand Parade This open-air service will thaw even the most hardened of Scrooges.  Organised by St Helena's Salvation Army, guest singers and musicians play to a congregation from the Court House steps, in the shadow of St James' Church.  Sat under strings of lights in heart of this historical garrison, you really get that 'Christmassy' feeling. This is the service in 2016.

Ecumenical Carol Service At The Grand Parade
This open-air service will thaw even the most hardened of Scrooges. Organised by St Helena’s Salvation Army, guest singers and musicians play to a congregation from the Court House steps, in the shadow of St James’ Church. Sat under strings of lights in heart of this historical garrison, you really get that ‘Christmassy’ feeling.
This is the service in 2016.

Ecumenical Carol Service At The Grand Parade This open-air service will thaw even the most hardened of Scrooges.  Organised by St Helena's Salvation Army, guest singers and musicians play to a congregation from the Court House steps, in the shadow of St James' Church.  Sat under strings of lights in heart of this historical garrison, you really get that 'Christmassy' feeling. This is the service in 2016.

Ecumenical Carol Service At The Grand Parade
This open-air service will thaw even the most hardened of Scrooges. Organised by St Helena’s Salvation Army, guest singers and musicians play to a congregation from the Court House steps, in the shadow of St James’ Church. Sat under strings of lights in heart of this historical garrison, you really get that ‘Christmassy’ feeling.
This is the service in 2016.

Nativity Play - Harford Primary School Nativity plays are a sweet reminder about the meaning of Christmas and Harford Primary School's annual performances brings the message home with aplomb.  Held in St Matthew's Church at Hutts Gate the pupils perform on a makeshift stage before and audience of family and friends (2016).

Nativity Play – Harford Primary School – Christmas on St Helena
Nativity plays are a sweet reminder about the meaning of Christmas and Harford Primary School’s annual performances brings the message home with aplomb. Held in St Matthew’s Church at Hutts Gate the pupils perform on a makeshift stage before and audience of family and friends (2016).

RMS St Helena The RMS St Helena in the harbour is always a happy sight, her arrival brings friends and family and goodies for the shops as she remains the island's only commercial passenger and freight link to the outside world.  For the moment...

RMS St Helena – Christmas on St Helena
The RMS St Helena in the harbour is always a happy sight, her arrival brings friends and family and goodies for the shops as she remains the island’s only commercial passenger and freight link to the outside world. For the moment…

Shop Windows - Christmas on St Helena If Frozen's Olaf snowman were real he'd melt inside this shop window, Christmas falls in the summer season on St Helena.  Christmas in the southern hemisphere looks a lot different to scenes depicted on the greeting cards we buy in shops.  Photo: 2016 window

Shop Windows – Christmas on St Helena
If Frozen’s Olaf snowman were real he’d melt inside this shop window, Christmas falls in the summer season on St Helena. Christmas in the southern hemisphere looks a lot different to scenes depicted on the greeting cards we buy in shops.
Photo: 2016 window

Night In The Consulate - Christmas on St Helena People come out of the woodwork and everybody goes to town at Christmas, it's a very communal time of year.  The pubs, shops and restaurants have a busy trade who must only wish it could be Christmas every day.  Picture: Consulate Hotel courtyard, 2009.

Night In The Consulate – Christmas on St Helena
People come out of the woodwork and everybody goes to town at Christmas, it’s a very communal time of year. The pubs, shops and restaurants have a busy trade who must only wish it could be Christmas every day.
Picture: Consulate Hotel courtyard, 2009.

7 thoughts on “The Spirit and Traditions of Christmas on St Helena

  1. Great pictures as always,the script and pictures captures the spirit of Christmas on the island. Well done all very best for 2017.

    Like

  2. AW GREAT PICTURES AND HOW LOVELY TO SEE OUR SHOP WINDOW DISPLAY ON YOUR PAGE THANKS GUYS ! KEEP YOUR SMASHING PICTURES COMING !

    Liked by 1 person

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