Its a 'Trini thing' with a Trini meaning - Lime!
Growing up we learnt the value of togetherness through celebrations. A lime is simply the coming together of persons to share a few drinks and 'shoot some breeze' (talk)! At Christmas time its a bigger occasion, which tends to turn an 'informal hangout' aka 'lime' into party with family and friends, neighbors and children.
There is music, talk, even card games and dancing. Everything is done in the home,in the backyard, or in front on the porch or stairways! As kids we were always given a piece of cake, sweetbread, ham & turkey slices and if lucky a 'pastelle'!
The 'pastelle' is a cornmeal patty cooked in banana leaves. Its a tradition to stuff this corn-cake with a meat filling and wrap in the banana leaf and boiled. Its then frozen for use throughout the season. Its served warm with a special mustard sauce called 'chow chow'. We were given the tasks of washing the leaves and 'singeing then over the fire for softening and cleaning with the heat! In searching for a picture of pastelles I discovered a great recipe on the link www.simplytrinicooking.org via Google. The picture is also from that site.
Liming requires drinking and that's when the liquor cabinet gets tested. There are beers, whiskey, rum,vodka, ponche de creme, sorrel and ginger beer to name a few. I was always happy to get a 'taste' of ponche de creme as it was made with milk and rum and some aromatic Angostura bitters. My mom thought it was okay for us to get a little if we were good during the season! To this day enjoy a glass whenever offered!
As Children we were given the tasks to peel the sorrel leaves off the seed and fill a bowl.The sorrel was then rinsed and boiled with spice and clove and sugar! The grating of the ginger for the ginger-beer was something I did not like doing, but did it anyway, because I loved the sweet burning sensation of the drink!
Every lime has music and there is a steady mixture of carols, parang, soca and calypso to keep everyone entertained. Children were allowed to stay up late during the 'lime' at Christmas as it was a special time. We learnt a lot about the value in sharing and 'living' with other people during the Christmas season - the other people being family and friends who stayed over not wanting the lime to end. Life was simple and children simply accepted the easy joy of the festivities!
My memories seem so close and I almost wish I could go back to see it all once more!
Happy Christmas Season!
*Special credit to GoogleTT for the photo of pastelles from www.simplytrinicooking.org