Hundreds attend tree lighting event in Pompey Square

The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture officially kicked off the holiday season last week with an exciting Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Pompey Square on Thursday evening.

With the lighting of the Christmas tree, Director General of the Ministry of Tourism Joy Jibrulu declared joyfully that Christmas has officially begun in The Islands of The Bahamas. She was accompanied by Royal Bahamas Police Force Chief Superintendent Leamond Deleveaux and the adorable Butler twins.

“Christmas in The Bahamas is fun and festive but above all, Christmas is the celebration of the birth of the Christ child. Christmas also symbolizes hope, it is time to say thanks for the greatest gift of all, and after surviving Hurricanes Matthew and Joaquin, this message is so important,” she said.

As downtown Nassau came alive on Thursday, hundreds of visitors and Bahamians were greeted by the nativity scene, a beautiful Junkanoo corner designed by Keith Johnson – a member of the Valley Boys, an exclusive photo opportunity with Santa on the beach and gigantically wrapped presents artistically placed in the square.

Attendees were also entertained by the harmonious voices and sounds of talented young Bahamians including the Rhythm & Youth Rake N Scrape Band, Government High School Marching Band, Melodious voices and much more. 

Arlene Nash-Ferguson, Director of Cultural Heritage Tourism said the event not only signifies the start of the Christmas season but it is also a celebration of Bahamian culture.

“This is a beautiful experience. We have an overflowing crowd and the atmosphere in Pompey Square is absolutely magical. What is also special is that it is a combination of Bahamians and visitors all of whom are enjoying this impressive display of Bahamian culture. We also have the children of The Bahamas on display and they were outstanding. Christmas is coming and we kicked it off with a very special evening,” she said.

“It is also extremely important to have the young people at the event because Christmas at its core is all about the birth of a baby and it is important we focus on our own children. Not only to send the message that Christ brought the peace, joy and love that he brought to the world but the gifts and talents that he gave to each one of them.”

Among the visitors in the crowd was Al Muser from New Jersey, a first-time visitor to the Bahamas.

“I’m enjoying every single thing I have seen and done here. The Bahamas is a magical place, everyone is just wonderful, nice, friendly and I want to come back here as often as I can. The show is tremendous! As a drummer myself, I’m really enjoying it. The decorations are also beautiful and The Bahamas does better decorations than we do in the States, you can tell when people do decorations from their heart versus doing it because you have to,” Al said.

Jasmine Delancy, a Bahamian who came out just for the celebration, said she enjoyed watching the youth perform.

“The tree lighting ceremony was delightful for my family and I. I love to see the youth of our nation display their talents and it welcomed the Christmas season and placed us in the Christmas spirit. I believe there should be more events such as this to spread the holiday spirit to all Bahamians,” she said.

For the month of December, visitors and locals will have the opportunity to enjoy Christmas caroling and all of the decorations in Pompey Square.

The Ministry of Tourism continues the holiday celebrations all month long with Christmas On Da Cay, which launches on Monday, December 5 at Arawak Cay.

Opened to the public, every weekday from 4 p.m. -9 p.m., the Christmas Village features the best of authentic Bahamian gifts and Christmas decorations, delectable Bahamian treats and exciting Bahamian entertainment.

For the full Christmas event schedule, visit www.tourismtoday.com/events

Media Contact: Dawn Demeritte | ddemeritte@bahamas.com | (242) 397-2791