One Grand Noise
Boxing Day in the Anglicized Caribbean World
The first comprehensive study of how Boxing Day is celebrated across the Caribbean
Winner of the 2022 Chicago Folklore Prize
For many, December 26 is more than the day after Christmas. Boxing Day is one of the world’s most celebrated cultural holidays. As a legacy of British colonialism, Boxing Day is observed throughout Africa and parts of the African diaspora, but, unlike Trinidadian Carnival and Mardi Gras, fewer know of Bermuda’s Gombey dancers, Bahamian Junkanoo, Dangriga’s Jankunú and Charikanari, St. Croix’s Crucian Christmas Festival, and St. Kitts’s Sugar Mas.
One Grand Noise: Boxing Day in the Anglicized Caribbean World delivers a highly detailed, thought-provoking examination of the use of spectacular vernacular to metaphorically dramatize such tropes as “one grand noise,” “foreday morning,” and from “back o’ town.” In cultural solidarity and an obvious critique of Western values and norms, revelers engage in celebratory sounds, often donning masks, cross-dressing, and dancing with abandon along thoroughfares usually deemed anathema to them. Folklorist Jerrilyn McGregory demonstrates how the cultural producers in various island locations ritualize Boxing Day as a part of their struggles over identity, class, and gender relations in accordance with time and space.
Based on ethnographic study undertaken by McGregory, One Grand Noise explores Boxing Day as part of a creolization process from slavery into the twenty-first century. McGregory traces the holiday from its Egyptian origins to today and includes chapters on the Gombey dancers of Bermuda, the evolution of Junkanoo/Jankunú in The Bahamas and Belize, and J'ouvert traditions in St. Croix and St. Kitts. Through her exploration of the holiday, McGregory negotiates the ways in which Boxing Day has expanded from small communal traditions into a common history of colonialism that keeps alive a collective spirit of resistance.
"In One Grand Noise: Boxing Day in the Anglicized Caribbean World, Jerrilyn McGregory brings together rich scholarship on Boxing Day and carnivalesque events in the Black Atlantic, providing a complete, holistic view of traditional and emergent festivities in a very rich cultural region of the world. "- Jack Santino, author of Public Performances: Studies in the Carnivalesque and Ritualesque
"Utilizing well over a decade of travel, Jerrilyn McGregory chronicles Anglican Caribbean festival and performative events that have been underdocumented in African diaspora performance studies. Focusing on Boxing Day and Christmas week festivities, McGregory broadens discussions of Carnival and the carnivalesque, placing Anglican Caribbean traditions in historical context while exploring how these performances help form national identity. "- Anita Gonzalez, coeditor of Performance, Dance and Political Economy: Bodies at the End of the World
"One Grand Noise is a seminal work, a most valuable contribution to the literature about Caribbean festivals and their meanings. . . . McGregory’s approach is original and significant, allowing for these festivals to be explored and interrogated in their own right, not just as Christmas offshoots of the broader, better-known Carnival complex."- Nicolette Bethel, New West Indies Guide