Unwritten Rules And Norms Of The Jamaican Culture


For such a small country, Jamaica has one of the richest cultures worldwide. While many try to duplicate, a significant portion of or norms can only be experienced here. Let’s Look at some of our norms that have been etched in our culture.

  • We have the remarkable ability to replicate the American accent when talking to Americans, or after a short stay in the country. Whether or not this is done well, is a very subjective matter.
  • It is perfectly legal to park the letter ‘h’ anywhere in a sentence. Example ‘Hi am feeling very appy’. 
  • Whenever you are at a shop in rural Jamaica, often times no one is present to sell you items. You indicate your need for service by shouting “Serve”. Someone will appear to help.
  • You do not have fried dumplings for dinner. They are good for breakfast only.
  • Guys can have a complete conversation using only the sound ‘ahh’.
  • You must acknowledge the national anthem before watching any movie at the Theatre. 
  • It is your right to convey that you are filled with the Holy Spirit by speaking in tongues when worshiping at a Pentecostal church, but not at a Catholic church.
  • More often than not, the biological father is absent from the household.
  • An effeminate male is immediately categorized as homosexual.
  • Rice and peas, with your choice of meat, is expected for Sunday dinner.
  • Ginger bulla, is eaten with pear (avocado).
  • Having multiple jobs is the norm.
  • If a vehicle “bad drives” you on the road, it is your duty to drive them down just so you can utter profanities at them.
  • Taxi drivers are known to be aggressive while driving. Make way.
  • Upon arrival from ‘foreign’, whichever country it may be, it is expected that you return bearing gifts.
  • There is absolutely nothing better that free food.
  • Everyone appreciates old Reggae Music.
  • We find being told negatives about our mothers to be especially offensive.
  • Most persons are not Rastafarians, most persons do not smoke weed and most persons rarely visit the beach. We find it surprising members of the international community believe those are norms.
  • The word ‘hush’ does not mean ‘shut up’. It is a sentiment of empathy. 
  • If someone is in our way when walking and we want to pass, we do not say ‘excuse me’ like the rest of the world, we say ‘sorry’. 
  • When singing the national anthem, it is ok to insert the sound ‘boom’  after ‘Jamaica’. Big up yuhself Omar McLeod. Boom! 

 

– Aldeam Facey 2016

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Author: Aldeam Facey

I am a PhD candidate in the Department of Basic Medical Sciences, University of the West Indies Mona. I am currently involved in research associated with Lactate Metabolism and it's association with physical performance in our Jamaican athletes. My research also involves type 2 diabetes mellitus. I really enjoy a good game of chess and I believe it is the most amazing sport ever created. I also play badminton and I'm an amateur artist (painting and drawing). I have many other interests and often find myself attempting to be involved in each, all simultaneously, life is short isn't it? I appreciate music, from classical to acapella to reggae, great vocals really intrigues me. I'm a seventh day adventist, and I have been all my life. Feel free to discuss religious beliefs with me at anytime. That pretty much sums me up right now. Hope you enjoy reading my blogs. Contact me at 1876-858-0783 or aldeamfacey@gmail.com

One thought on “Unwritten Rules And Norms Of The Jamaican Culture”

  1. “Guys can have a complete conversation using only the sound ‘ahh’.” Don’t it? I have experienced this, just add, “yuh zeemi,” “zeen” and “unnnh-unnn” and the conversation easily complete.

    –D.K.W.

    Liked by 1 person

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