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Beach House Villas
Jamaica is among the largest
islands in the Caribbean
and attracts many thousands of visitors to it's sunny shores
every year. The island of Jamaica is somewhat larger than the
largest of the Hawaiian Islands, but though it may be small
it is certainly not short on excitement, culture, adventure
and most of all, fun...
English is the national language of Jamaica, it may not be the
sort of English you are used to hearing, and you may hear some
terms used that are are unfamiliar with.
"Rastafarianism" or "rasta"
describes a religious sect that is native to Jamaica. Rastafarians
follow a strict religious code that includes the use of marijuana,
or "ganja" as local Jamaicans refer to it.
Ganja is often smoked through a "chalice",
which is a large smoking pipe, sometimes filled with water to
filter the smoke. Rastafarians often avoid cutting their hair
as part of their relious code, and often style it into "dreadlocks",
or "dreads". Dreadlocks are locks or strands
of hair that have been intentionally matted or knotted together.
Rastas often keep their dreadlocks covered by an "tam",
which is a woolen or other such type hat or head covering. often
eat "I'tal" which is a term they use to describe
organic fruits and vegatables. The god worshipped by the rastafarians
is called "Jah". Rastafarians will often use
the term "I and I", which means "me and
God". One term you are almost certain to hear when in Jamaica
is "Irie". Irie means "feeling good",
or sometimes "at one with God".
The People of Jamaica
Consisting mostly of peoples descended from African blacks, the
population of Jamaica does include a number of other ethnicities
such as East Indians, Chinese, and European peoples. Most of the
population of Jamaica is concentrated in the coastal areas, leaving
most of the the highland and mountainous parts of the island largely
uninhabited. The population of Jamaica is risen dramatically over
recent decades, due to improved health care and educational systems.
The "Church of God", "Angelicans", and "Babtists"
and even Roman Catholics are prominent religious groups, but despite
the popular conception outside of Jamaica, Rastafarianism remains
only a very small part of the religious majority of the island.
This misconception may be due in part to the fact that rastafarians
are the probably the most visible of the religious groups in Jamaica,
due to their dreadlocked hair and counter-culture lifestyle and
Reggae music has become one of Jamaica's most popular exports,
making it's debut in the 1950's and 60's, and finding it's way
to neary every part of the globe. Reggae added an element of protest
and Rastafarian idealism to the captivating rhythms. Bob Marley
is undoubtedly the most popular reggae artist in history, but
despite his world-wide recognition and fame, was not the first
Jamaican artist to sing reggae music. Bob Marley is considered
a national hero in Jamaica, not due simply to his world-famous
music, but for his outspoken stance on social and political issues
that have affected poor and disempowered poeples all over the
globe, particularly in Africa. Another extremely popular reggae
artist is Peter Tosh, who was in fact a menber of the musical
group from which Bob Marley also heralded.