Giving thanks for life, happiness and each other is often overlooked, which is why Cayman Thanksgiving is such a vital addition to the wonders of these shores.
A series of events take place this weekend to celebrate this occasion including special concerts, meals, worship and charity ideas.
It all starts on Friday, 30 November, with the Homecoming Concert at Pedro St. James. The concert at the historical birth of democracy in Cayman opens its doors at 6.30pm and features appearances from Swanky Kitchen Band, Inverse and Hi Tide. Remember to take a blanket or chair to this one guys! Carpooling is also highly recommended to avoid parking snarl-ups. This event also has four awesome food vendors selling quality eats, Cayman Ice Cream will be there and this is a no-alcohol concert. Keep hold of the ticket stub, too – it will qualify you for special discounts at several Cayman Islands Tourism Association restaurants, which are putting on Cayman Thanksgiving dinners. The musicians are very excited to be taking part.
“Cayman Thanksgiving to me means to set aside to give thanks to God for his blessings and learning to give thanks with our whole life, making it clear by the way we speak and act that we are a faithful and grateful people,” says Jeffrey Wilson.
Swanky takes up the baton.
“Thanksgiving is an opportunity for us to really focus in on our history here in Cayman and our story. Our music is the heart music of the people of Cayman and we are so thankful to have the opportunity to keep this Caymanian tradition alive,” they tell us.
InVerse is a relatively new act that has become active in 2012 and the band is upbeat about matters.
“Despite all the problems in the world we in the Cayman Islands have a lot to be thankful for such as family friends and a chance to express ourselves through music,” they say.
Hi Tide agrees.
“[It is] a time of unity and a time to reflect on our heritage,” says the duo. You could say that their own performance reflects that – there will be plenty of friends joining the normally-acoustic pair onstage at the gig. Hi Tide’s year so far has been excellent with a highlight being chosen as headliners at a special music festival in Florida.
“Personally, the highlight has been the fact that we have had a more peaceful Cayman than in recent years,” muse the musicians. And so say all of us.
Other appearances come from UCCI dancers, Nasaria Cholette and more. Admission is $15 for adults and $5 for children younger than 12. Tickets are available from J&M Electronics, Cayman Cabana and Funky Tangs.
The following morning at Market at the Grounds, there is a special Market Vendors Day to celebrate Cayman produce and local producers. Savvy buyers will get there early to purchase a great selection of local stuff in order to prepare for the thanksgiving meal. So expect such things as pumpkin, fish, breadfruit, cassava, yam, bananas, poultry, eggs, meats, seasoning, peppers – enough for anyone to nam it up good, nah? If you’re looking for recipes head to the Cayman Thanksgiving Facebook page for some inspiration.
Speaking of the meal, it’s of course central to the whole deal and Caymanians and residents alike are encouraged to get the good food on and to invite each other round to literally break bread. Good food is one of life’s universal elements and really does have the power to break down boundaries, which is what Cayman Thanksgiving is all about. The Sunday meal can take place at any time and can be any menu you like, of course, but the benefits to honouring all things Caymanian obviously include buying produce from farmers, fishermen and all food-related industries. Plus, it’s fresh, fabulous and frankly awesome stuff. Delicious!
Social responsibility is also a feature of the event and all are encouraged to participate in the Charity Begins at Home theme. Why not donate unused hurricane supplies for distribution to the less fortunate? Perhaps clean some of the beach, plant a tree, visit a neighbour? There are numerous ways in which we all can perform random acts of kindness – not just this weekend, but year-round. Donations bins will be in the supermarkets so look out for lots more on this as you travel around the island in your daily business. The message is that we are blessed so let’s share the love.
And whatever your religion, taking a moment of thought, faith and worship is also a central tenet of Cayman Thanksgiving, both now and in the future.
Cayman Thanksgiving is all about people, which is why everyone is encouraged to get involved. You can get more information from [email protected]