One Grand Noise
Boxing Day in the Anglicized Caribbean World
The first comprehensive study of how Boxing Day is celebrated across the Caribbean
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 Christmas Carnival 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.