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Jamaica is among the most popular destinations in the West Indies,
and despite being one of many islands in the Caribbean, Jamaica
has a culture and flavor all it's own. The city of Kingston is Jamaica's
capital, and is located in the south-eastern part of the island.
One of the most popular cities to visit in Jamaica is Negril, which
lies on the island's western coast. Negril is home to pristine white-sand
beaches that attract thousands of return visitors each year, and
when you come to Negril, you'll want to be familiar with some of
the lingo that you'll hear when talking to the locals.
"Chalice" - a pipe that rastafarians use for smoking ganja.
"Dreadlocks" - knotted or matted locks of hair that often
are not cut as part of the rastafarian religious philosophy.
"Dread" - a word often used to describe a Rastaman.
"I and I" - a Rastaman's term for "me and God".
"I-tal" - A rastafarian word for fruits and produce that
are organically grown.
"Irie" - Irie is word that is used to say "things
are all good".
"Jah" - An abreviation of Jehovah, and the Rastafarian
word for God.
"Tam" - Is a cap, often made of wool that is popular with
The word "reggae" comes from the word "ragged",
which was a term coined for a style of Jamaican dance music in the
early 1960's. Reggae music gained world-wide popularity when artists
like Bob Marley and Jimmy Cliff began writing hit songs that first
brought reggae music to the attention of people outside of Jamaica's
borders. To this day, Bob Marley is recognized as a Jamaican National
Hero for his efforts on behalf of disenfranchised people in Jamaica
and all over the world. Bob Marley is definitely the most popular
reggae artist to date, with his messages of peace and love still
resounding throughout the world, and still gaining popularity at
a steady rate.
Allthough reggae music is generally regarded as native to Jamaica,
reggae music actually has it's roots in African rhythms, combined
with western style rythym and blues, and rock type music of the
1950's and 60's. But despite it's international origins, reggae
music has evolved into something all it's own, becoming a symbol
to people all over the globe heralding the colorful flavor and culture
of the people of Jamaica.
The diverse culture of Jamaica has resulted from a blending of peoples
from around the globe. "Out of Many, One People" is national
motto of Jamaica, and it couldn't be more true, as almost every
differnet type of race is represented within the island's borders.
The diversity of Jamaica is especially apparent in the local cuisine.
Allthough African and European influences are the most dominant
within Jamaica's culture, east Indians and Asians also have left
a prominent mark upon Jamaican society.
The national language in Jamaica is English, but the dialect is
not one that most westerners are likely to be familiar with. Jamaicans
call their unique tongue "Patois", pronounced "pa-twah".
Patois has evolved from the combination of English, spanish, African,
and Portuguese and African dialects. Patois has a very rhythmic
sound when compared to more familiar English dialects.