With Palm Sunday behind us, many of Cayman’s most dedicated Easter campers already have staked out their spots – cleaning beaches, stacking firewood, clearing brush and getting ready for a bit of rest and relaxation.
This beloved island tradition offers time to reconnect with family and with nature, to slow down away from the busy day-to-day, and relax in the comfort of companionship. It is a time for fishing and seawater baths, for endless rounds of dominoes, fry fish and taking the day as it comes.
Years ago, beachside campsites were often far from town, with shelters as rustic as a few tarpaulins draped over branches and hammocks strung from tree to tree. But while the accommodations may have been simple, each site held a bounty of good food and good company, where kids played, adults visited with old friends and relations, and sweet potato or breadfruit roasted slowly in the fire.
Like most things, Easter camping has changed over the years. Unlike in times past, getting out of town is no longer a big excursion – it’s as easy as hopping in the car. As our population has grown, it has left fewer spots “in the country” where one can truly get away from it all. Even some owners of undeveloped land perfectly suited for camping have soured on the idea of letting campers in, having dealt with irresponsible or disrespectful campers in the past.
Some Caymanian families have set aside the tradition of Easter camping. Some are too busy to take the lead from older relatives. Others may just not see the appeal. There’s no arguing the fact that from set-up to clean-up, it can be a huge amount of work.
At the same time, many newcomers to our island have taken up the tradition and its welcome break from everyday life, bringing their own foods and ‘flavours’ to the annual retreat. Today’s campsites are often elaborate set-ups with all the comforts of home.
Years ago on our islands, Easter was a momentous occasion – rivalling even Christmas – when everyone dressed in their Sunday best and flocked to church services and celebrations of the resurrection.
Today, we are home to a colourful and diverse population with different traditions and expectations. There are many more options for ways to spend the long weekend, whether it be lingering over a sumptuous brunch or taking part in one of many seasonal activities. Many take advantage of the opportunity to travel – taking trips to Jamaica, Central America, to the United States or other destinations overseas.
Times change – that can’t be helped. So whether Easter, or camping, is a part of your family’s tradition, we encourage all our readers to enjoy the week in good company, taking full advantage of these final days of the cool dry season before things heat up, the winds shift and rains return.