Historically, Jamaica is known to to be the homeland of people from all walks of life. With a population of 2,702,300 (Statistical Institute of Jamaica, 2010) people, Jamaica holds true to our “Out of Many one People”. In terms of figures, this is what the Jamaican mixed population looks like: 90.9 % of African, 1.3% of East Indian, 0.2% of Chinese origin, 0.2% White, 7.3% mixed and 0.1% Other. So as it is, similar to most nations today, in our nation is mixed with people from different races and countries. Which, in turn, is responsible for Jamaica’s cultural diversity, richness, and energy. More about the people
Generally, Jamaicans are warm, friendly, hardworking and proud people, typically eager for personal achievement. Most Jamaicans are cool-tempered and high-spirited, and this can be seen in almost any social encounter.
Jamaicans have a strong sense of oneness, regardless of race, colour, class, creed or political persuasion.
Jamaicans speak the official English language and a local ‘creole’ language called ‘Patios’ (pronounced Patwa). Though wide spoken, Patois is hardly used in official or business circles. More about Jamaican language
Typical things Jamaicans may do or say:
1. Jamaicans refer to most hot beverages as ‘tea’: bush tea, chocolate tea, fish tea, mint tea, coffee tea, tea bag tea.
2. Jamaicans greet mostly by shaking the hands or patting the back, they hardly greet by exchanging hugs or kisses. Men usually do not hug or kiss other men.
3. Jamaicans sometimes swirl their drink, especially cold beverages with ice.
4. Jamaican Rastafarians usually greet by using the phrase ‘irie’, and refers to women as ‘daughter’, ‘princess’ or ’empress’. Also, instead of using personal pronouns such as me, I, you, etc., they use the phrase ‘the I’. For e.g.. ‘the I hungry’ would mean ‘I am hungry’.
5. Jamaicans usually say ‘one stop’ upon reaching their destination on public buses or taxis.
6. Jamaicans may be offended if disrespected. If treated with respect, they are usually very pleasant and cooperative. Some Jamaicans even use the word ‘respect’ in greeting others.
7. Jamaicans are usually very friendly and helpful to tourists.
9. When giving directions, Jamaicans typically refer to a good distance as ‘just around the corner’. They may also give graphic details in directions such as: you will see ‘a shop with a red flag at the top’, or ‘ a little old lady selling fruits’.
10. Because of Jamaica’s climate, Jamaicans do not wear seasonal clothing. Jamaicans usually wear lightweight clothing throughout the year.