Jamaica is very diverse, just because it has been inhabited by several different groups of people throughout the course of time. It was originally inhabited by the Arawak Tribe, which is now called the Tianos. Once Christopher Columbus found Jamaica, it was claimed for Spain, and naturally, a Spanish culture was born in the country.
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Jamaica was taken over by British Rule in 1655, and remained under British Rule until 1962, although there were moves being made as early as 1938 to do away with British Rule in Jamaica. From 1655 to 1838, however, there was a slave industry in Jamaica, and by the time that Jamaica was established as its own country, you had Taino influences, Spanish influences, British influences, African influences, Chinese influences and Indian influences. Today, however, there is no evidence of the Taino influence remaining in Jamaica, although historians are working to gather information and artifacts from the Taino period. www.travelrows.com
Today it is the African influences that are the most prominent throughout Jamaica. The people who reside in Jamaica today are direct descendants of the people that inhabited the island during the earlier centuries. These descendants primarily come from the slaves of long ago.
Therefore, there is a very rich African-Jamaican culture in Jamaica. This group of people generally refers to themselves as black, afro, and sometimes even dread. African-Jamaican’s are very proud of their heritage, and celebrate it. The people who come to the island each year – approximately two million – as tourist add to that celebration.
The majority of Jamaicans are of Christian faith. The most commonly practiced religion is called Rastafarian, which a Christian religion with Ethiopian influences. There are, however a small number of synagogues in Jamaica as well. Obeah (witchcraft) is also practiced in more remote areas.
Rastafari and Reggae seem to go hand in hand in Jamaica. Although this is a major religion in Jamaica, it is still largely undefined. It is based on the Christian Bible. Bob Marley, from Kingston, Jamaica was a well-known reggae performer in the 1980’s, and this syncopated style of music is known as ska rhythms. Reggae, like dancing, is incorporated into many religious ceremonies and celebrations. Many of those who practice the Rastafari religion wear their hair in dreadlocks, and only eat certain natural foods.
In Jamaica, dancing isn’t just enjoyable, it’s a true part of the culture, and has been so since colonial times. Dance and rhythms were often used in religious celebrations, and this is still true today. There are more than 30 different Jamaican dances, and of these thirty, the dances may be influenced by African dance, European dance, or Creole dance. The African dancing may be further categorized into either religious dancing or social dancing.
Sports are also an important part of the Jamaican culture. Jamaicans enjoy football, Cricket, horse racing, and even dominoes are considered a sport here. Jamaicans are master wood and metal craftsmen as well. Despite the hard economical times, Jamaicans tend to be a happy, celebratory people, who express themselves very well in both the physical and verbal sense.
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