Jamaican Culture Essay

1381 words - 6 pages

Jamaican culture is more than just Rastafarianism and Reggae music. The Jamaican culture encompasses every aspect of life from beliefs, superstitions, and practices to art, education, and tourism. However, the most important aspect of the culture is the African roots that still exist today. Religion and music became essential parts of the slave culture for communication purposes and barrier breakers. Culture is 'the property of the individual and it's a property of societies' (Alleyne 9). Jamaica has a very diverse culture with original natives coming into contact with the Spanish and English. Jamaican culture can be split into the primitive era and the modern era.

The primitive characteristics are all the effects of the African slave trade.
There are several different cultural backgrounds connected to the people of Jamaica. It is one of the truly multiculturalism countries in the world. The native Arwark's were the only group never to root their culture into Jamaica due to their extermination. There are signs of British influence from the official language of English to many of their traditional European customs. Many of the locals speak a dialect of English with African, Spanish, and French elements. 95% of the populations of Jamaica are from African or partly African descent (Verrill 130). The slaves had great trust in folktales and proverbs that have been past down from generation to generation.

Jamaica is renowned for being one of the most religious islands in the world with ten churches for every square mile (Jamaicans). Many holidays are celebrated together with either festivals or large family meals. During Christmas the Jamaicans celebrate much like cities in the US with the lighting of a tree in Kingston followed by fireworks and carols (Jamaicans). The major religions practiced are Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and Rastafarianism. Rastafarianism is the largest growing religion on the island partly due to Bob Marley?s influence. Bob Marley?s national influence of peace was reward with receiving the Order of Merit which is the third highest honor in Jamaica (Wittmann).
With so many Rastafarian?s on the island it can not go with out noting how they have created their own identity. They believe in returning to their homeland of Africa where their historical roots lie. Because they do not believe in an afterlife, living on earth is taken very seriously by taking advantage of every moment. Rastafarian?s eat only natural food that has not been chemically altered. This consists of fruits, vegetables, seeds, and some fish (Wittmann). The religion prohibits eating red meat, drinking alcohol, and smoking cigarettes. Rastafarian?s are best known for their controversial use of ?ganja? which is believed to bring them closer and more connected to God, Jah. The most intriguing aspect of their language is saying ?I and I? as a belief that all men are one and equal (Wittmann). The use of music especially...

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