An interesting trend has emerged in Barbados in recent years. We have seen the promotion of the Christmas message in October by the commercial elites. A Bajan tradition of the not too distant past was to wait until we cleared the Independence period of November 30 before promoting Christmas messages.
Tradition in the context of this discussion is popularly defined as “the transmission of customs or beliefs from generation to generation, or the fact of being passed on in this way”. The BU household is of the view that promoting Christmas after the Independence period has been a Bajan tradition up to five or six years ago. The shift we are witnessing raises the question- why the haste to popularize Christmas in October?
BU blogmaster is of the view the trend of promoting Christmas in October is linked to the increase in local businesses which are foreign and regionally owned. Starcom Network owned by the Port of Spain domiciled parent has attracted rising criticism for promoting the theme “Christmas in October” on 104.1 The Beat. In recent years, and this year is no exception, we have seen the Trinidadian owned banks- Republic and First Citizens- launching Christmas promotions in October. Interesting also to note- Royal Bank the Canadian owned bank with regional head office in Trinidad- launched its Christmas promotion this week.
We have key intuitions in the country that have responded to the pressure of maintaining profit margins by using resources to power a message to create consumption demand in a period traditionally reserved for pre-Independence activity. All agree that Independence promotion is NOT a money spinner for the business sector. Barbados society has shifted to a secular mindset which makes it receptive (vulnerable?) to Christmas messages in October. Worldwide Christmas has denigrated from a Christian holiday to a wildly commercial venture promoted under the theme “eat drink and be merry”.
There is a view to which the blogmaster subscribes, it is tasteless to promote Christmas in October. Unlike Jamaica, Trinidad and a few other islands, Barbadians have struggled with propagating a patriotic fervour that fiercely perpetuates and defends the Bajan identity and brand. The concern for some of us is that when our leading radio station, once locally owned, surrenders its responsibility to defend local traditions then the obvious result is that the fight becomes a little harder for the next generation Bajan.
There is the argument that life is about change and this is true. However, some things in the opinion of this author- implied or expressed- must never change. Although a minority view, WE must demand that key players in civil society respect the Independence period by maintaining a respectable ‘noise level’. If we allow traditional notions and values to be subsumed by cultural relativism and popularism, the inevitable result will be one where the evolution of the Bajan identity will be laid bare on a path to nowhere.
We [Barbadians] loyal sons and daughters all
Do hereby make it known
These fields and hills beyond recall
Are now our very own
We write our names on history’s page
With expectations great
Strict guardians of our heritage
Firm craftsmen of our fate