Symbols -The Flag -The original representation of the colors: black symbolizes hardships overcome and to be faced, gold is natural wealth and beauty of sunlight, and green is hope and agricultural resources. -In 1996 the symbolism of black was updated to standing for the strength and the creativity of the Jamaican people.
Symbols (cont.) -Rastafarian Flag The current Rastafarian Flag is the Ethiopian flag with the Lion of Judah symbol. Red is for blood, gold is for the minerals and resources and green is for the land.
Symbols (cont.) -The Doctor Bird The Doctor Bird is a species of hummingbird and Jamaica is the only place it lives. It has iridescent feathers which is limited to this family of birds.
Language Jamaica’s official language is English. However, the people of Jamaica often speak in an African-English Creole language which is called Jamaican Patois, which mostly exists as a spoken language. There is another Jamaican language is the use of English by the Rastafarians. In this language the Rastafarian people switch words with other words, for example they use “Me” instead of saying “I”.
Language Examples -Jamaican Patois: “Ah WahDat?” What is that your looking at. “SiyameSuh” Just like that “GalangYaa” Go head “Galangyaa missus caw dem ah ramp roun” Go ahead Miss because they are horsing around -Rastafarian English: “Dreadlocks” Describes the locks that Rastafarians wear their hair in, now the common word for the hair style. “Politricks” Means politics (because the politicians are tricksters) “Zion” refers to either Ethiopia or the whole continent of Africa.
Values -Respect The Jamaicans value respect. For example, while vacationing in Jamaica you don’t tip someone because you feel like you should, you tip them as a sign of respect. Also, if your are bartering for something you wouldn’t want to offer a low price because that would be disrespectful. Mike taught us about respect in Jamaica.
Values (cont.) -Friends One of the biggest Jamaican values would be friendship. In Jamaica if you make friends with someone they treat you like your part of the family and they will always remember you. My parents met Andrew four years ago, and he still treated us like we were part of his family.
Beliefs -Rastafarianism: a movement inspired by an Ethiopian reading of the James King Bible. Rastafarianism is a Christian belief with Jamaican twists. It is not a strict religion and the followers don’t even like the term “Rastafarianism” because they don’t want to be classified as an “ism”.
Beliefs (cont.) -Jamaican Superstitions: -When constructing a building you shouldn’t break ground until white rum has is poured so spirits are liberated. -If a guest has stayed in your house for to long, turn a broom up in a corner and the visitor will soon leave. -If a bird poops on you its considered good luck. -Ladies should not put their handbags on the floor as this will make them poor. -Pawpaw trees make men sterile. -If you jump into the water at Luminous Lagoon all of your ailments will be cured! (We did this on vacation)
Norms -Ganja : Ganja, also known as marijuana, is a cultural norm in Jamaica. It is illegal but it is mostly just frowned upon. It isn’t uncommon to be walking down a public beach and be able to smell it in the air. It became a norm because the Rastafarians smoke it for meditation and from their it spread. -”Are you alright?”: This term is the Jamaican equivalent to “How’s it going?”. I commonly heard it on my trip to Jamaica, especially when walking into stores, bars, or restaurants. -Stray Dogs: They are all over Jamaica. When you eat Jerk Chicken at an outside faculty you just throw the bones behind you for the stray dogs to eat. -Goats: These animals are all over the island. They are in ditches, yards, and have a tendency to run across roads.
Material Culture -In Jamaica the material culture differs with your age. The older adults tend to go with simple dressings, while the young people tend to wear very westernized wear. Also, the school children are always very clean and crisp in school uniforms. However, the poverty levels are very high so you see a lot of people who obviously don’t consider clothing their highest priority.
Sub-Cultures -Rastafarians: The Jamaicans with the dread locks, Rasta colors (red, yellow, green), that smoke ganja and speak of Jah (Rastafarian name for God) in the Rastafarian English. -Mountain People: On my trip to Jamaica we got a chance to go up into the mountains, there I noticed that the people in the mountains were a lot different than the big town people. In the mountains the children looked wild instead of the clean cut children I saw in town and the people seemed like they were hard worked (Probably in the sugar cane fields.)
Tourism -Bamboo Village: A group of shops where you can buy touristy things like bracelets and t-shirts. -Luminous Lagoon: A bay were salt water and fresh water mix creating the perfect condition for a special kind of plankton to live, ones that produce light when irritated. -Rum/Sugar Factory: The factory where they make Jamaican Rum and Sugar out of sugar cane.