How much do you know about Jamaica, its cultural norms, languages and folklore? Many have come from far and wide to see for themselves if what many have said about this ‘land of wood and water’ is really true. Upon leaving, many have declared those who have testified of such to be liars. They realize that what they experience was far more than what they were told. They instantly fall in love.
I have travel many places from the Caribbean to North America and in Europe. Of all the places I’ve been, there is yet a place to be as interesting as Jamaica is. For starters, it is an exceptionally beautiful place, endowed with natural resources many it the envy of many. That aside, it is the spirit of the spirit that makes Jamaica what it is. Our people say and do the funniest of things. With such a strong oral tradition that is handed down to generations over the years, no wonder today’s young people still continue that of their ancestors.
Here are 5 signs that you have some Jamaican-ness in your blood:
- You swirl your glass of beverage in your hand each time you’re about to take a sip. To make sure you evenly distribute all ingredients of the beverage throughout the glass, you swirl it around vigourously to make this happen. The result, no concentrate or sediment will settle at the bottom.
- Your response to every question relating to time is ‘soon’. In Jamaica, the word soon is an actual time. For example, someone asks, “When are you coming by to visit?” or “What time are you going to the market?” The answer is almost invariably, ‘soon’. The trouble is, this could mean anywhere from 5 minutes to 5 years and you’re left to twiddle your thumbs in between then until ‘soon’ becomes present.
- For impact, your word is repeated. We love plenty. Maybe that’s why we have words such as ‘fenkey-fenkey’, dibby-dibby, licky-licky, nyammy-nyammy and many more. As if our words are colourful enough standing on their own, we twin them to make sure no one misunderstands what we mean. They must get it. But why stop at 2, maybe we should consider for example nyammy-nyammy-nyammy. Oh well. But wait, you also have the variation where we must use two words meaning the same thing to express ourselves – don’t tell me you’ve never heard ‘reverse back’.
- You call every hot beverage tea. Don’t know why but as long as the beverage is hot, it is called tea. Never mind the fact that it never actually came from the plants of green nor black tea. Never mind that it may even be the branded Ovaltine, Horlicks or Milo, containing Barley extracts or a rich, brown, milky Chocolate (you know the type with the oil settling at the top?). For Jamaicans, as long as it is hot, it is tea and that’s final.
- Dinner must involve ground provision. This is especially true if you grew up in the rural areas of Jamaica like Usain Bolt’s Trelawny. It will never be clear to you how someone’s meal doesn’t include a huge serving with a combination of yam, banana, breadfruit, dasheen and cocoa. How can someone just have vegetables and fish and call that a meal, is the question many will ask.
These are just some of the things that make Jamaicans special. Do you have a sign you’d like to share? We want to hear from you, do let us know.