Christmas Bram- Dance to the Rhythm of the Brukdong 

by McNab Editorial Team
rum popo / egg nog

So, you decided to celebrate Christmas in Belize.  The festive season is upon us my friend and you’re in for some treats and sweets!  There is nothing like a Belize Christmas or should we say, Bram.   

Bram in Belize is the Kriol term used to describe festivities lasting until dawn during the Christmas season.  This jovial event has its roots buried deep in our history.  The earliest record of Bram took place during the height of the slavery era in Belize and also continued Post-Emancipation.  Ex-slaves took jobs working in Belize’s mahogany forest.  This would take them away from their family for months.  However, when the rains stopped, these men knew it was time to return home.  Their return meant that the Christmas festivities had begun.  This jubilant time was mostly celebrated in Old Belize Town and villages along Belize River Valley.  Today, the actual Bram celebration (Dec. 25th -26th) is mostly found in towns and villages outside of the city.  Most notably in Gales Point Manatee an Ex-Slave Community, which is forty miles away from Dangriga.  Check out our hotel recommendations in this area! 

Music 

During the ‘Bram is when you hear the cultural sounds of Brukdong music.  Brukdong is the traditional music of the Kriol ethnic group that could be heard across Belize on any given day, but especially around Christmas time. This music was popularized by the one and only Mr. Peters and the Boom and Chime and the iconic Leela Vernon.  Instruments used to create Brukdong music was traditionally a grater being beaten with forks, the Gombay drum, accordion, mouth organ (harmonica), and of course the jaw-bone of a Jack-Ass (donkey). While Brukdong music didn’t originate with Bram, it certainly became a welcome necessity during the festivities.  

 

Food 

No Christmas feast is complete without the treats!  During the Christmas time, Black cake is a delicious staple.  This delicious cake is made with raisins, nuts, cherries, which are all soaked in aged rum.  The longer it soaks the better!  For our recipe on how to get this cake click here.  Bram season is the time to get your freshly made fermented fruit-based local wine.  From cashew wine to berry wine, sorrel wine, to plum wine, locally made wine is served.  But don’t forget about the Rumpopo.  One might be inclined to think this is the same as Eggnog but you’d be wrong! 

fruit cakerum popo

By Ilona Smiling 

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