The Cayman Islands is preparing for two significant fixtures in the United States calendar; Thanksgiving and the shopping extravaganza of Black Friday the following day.
Thanksgiving is always celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November and this year it falls on the 28th. Cayman only really embraced Thanksgiving and Black Friday in the past decade, yet both are enormously popular now.
Cayman also has its only dedicated day for Thanksgiving. Cayman Thanksgiving is widely observed on the first Sunday in December to give communities a chance to express gratitude, mark the passage of the hurricane season and celebrate Caymanian traditions.
The first Sunday after the official passage of the Atlantic hurricane season was chosen because of the profound impact that Hurricanes Ivan (2004) and Paloma (2009) had on Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac respectively. By observing Cayman Thanksgiving at the end of the hurricane season, it unites all three islands in offering thanks.
In many American households, the Thanksgiving celebration has lost much of its original religious significance since the Pilgrims hosted the inaugural feast in 1621 in celebration of their successful corn harvest.
Instead, it now centres on cooking and sharing a sumptuous meal with family and friends. Turkey is a Thanksgiving staple and other traditional foods include stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie for dessert. Volunteering is a common Thanksgiving Day activity, and communities often hold food drives and host free dinners for the less fortunate. Thanksgiving is not a public holiday in Cayman, but it has adopted many of those traditions.
Feast without the fuss
For those not wishing to go through all the stress of hosting a Thanksgiving gathering, there are plenty of options to dine out.
The Ritz-Carlton is offering Thanksgiving delights in its restaurants including a superb BBQ on the beach.
Grand Old House in South Sound always offers traditional specials for lunch and dinner.
Ristorante Pappagallo in West Bay serves a three-course locally inspired Thanksgiving dinner.
George Town Yacht Club entices diners with a three-course set menu with all the trimmings for a reasonable price.
For casual diners, Gino's Pizzeria’s Thanksgiving Special is the Pizza of the Day; two slices of the 'Thanksgiving Special' and a cup of soup.
Deckers on West Bay Road always offers a traditional turkey dinner. Abacus in Camana Bay is an innovative dining experience, so Thanksgiving dinner is bound to be marvellous.
Fidel Murphy's Public House attracts sports lovers who will slam dunk their Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings from 11:30 am.
The Brasserie in Cricket Square serves a three-course traditional feast and wine pairings included at an additional cost.
Chicken!Chicken! at West Shore Center, West Bay Road, dubs itself Turkey!Turkey! for Thanksgiving.
The Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort, Tortuga, Cayman Coffee Exchange, Catboat Bar, Casanova’s, Agua, Luca, Lobster Pot and Ferdinand's Caribbean Cafe are all offering Thanksgiving menus and specials. Best to check with the venues to check meal availability, including the many not mentioned.
Cayman’s supermarkets offer Thanksgiving goodies
All Cayman’s major supermarkets are offering special lines for those brave and energetic enough to host their own Thanksgiving feasts. For example, Kirk is doing jerk chicken skewers, classic turkey and ham (boneless slices) and braised short ribs with Porcini port wine sauce. They also do whole roasted turkeys and whole honey-glazed ham.
All the Foster’s IGA outlets – including their brand-new store at Camana Bay - are offering much the same, including a vast selection of ranges for people with specific dietary needs, including gluten free, sugar-free, nut-free, dairy-free, vegan, vegetarian and kosher.
Hurley’s also have a huge array of traditional Thanksgiving goodies.
In the past, Boxed Cayman have sold their pre-packaged Thanksgiving dinners, available at Cost-U-Less, which feed up to six people.
Black Friday sees most stores in the US offering mega discounts, a perfect opportunity to stock up on Christmas gifts. Cayman stores that copy the trend include Cost-U-Less and Priced Right. The Brasserie has also hosted a Black Friday sale on a selection of wine and beer.