Jamaican Riddles

Jamaican rid­dles, like the proverbs, shows much of Jamaica’s his­tory and the char­ac­ter­is­tics of the Jamaican peo­ple. Rid­dles are guess­ing games in which the rid­dle solver is given a clue and expected to guess the rid­dle. Rid­dles are there­fore, basi­cally a ques­tion and answer game.

A typ­i­cal Jamaican rid­dle starts with the open­ing line:“riggle me dis, rig­gle me dat, guess me dis rig­gle and paraps not” or the less pop­u­lar “rig­gle me rig­gle, John me rig­gle, guess me dis rig­gle and paraps not”.

A typ­i­cal rid­dle goes like this: “Pam-par-am-pam wid a hole in de mid­dle”, to which the answer is ham­mer. Another rid­dle goes like this: “one slice a negro yam sarb de whole worl” (a slice of yam serves the whole world), to which the answer is the moon.

Rid­dles play the same role now, as they did then. They often evoke laugh­ter because of the unex­pected or per­ceived responses they require.

List of Jamaican Riddles and Answers:

Riddle: A cow and a donkey are coming round the corner.They crash. Which one is wrong?

Answer: The cow, because he should have blown his horn.

Riddle: Hell a top, hell a bottom, hallelujah eena di miggle.

Answer: Potato or cornmeal pudding (pone), made in a traditional oven with coals on top and at the bottom

Riddle: Mi doan weigh anything but mi can sink di biggest ship.

Answer: A complaint

Riddle: Why is every river rich?

Answer: Because every river has two banks

Riddle: Sweet water tan (standing) up.

Answer: Sugar cane

Riddle: Prime Minister, doctor and Governor General which one wear di biggest hat?

Answer: The one with the biggest head.

Riddle: Di longer it tan (stay) di shorter it get.

Answer: Candle

Riddle: If three seven is twentyone, how much is seven trees?

Answer: A small woodland

Riddle: Green as grass, macka lacka.

Answer: Soursop (macca is the Jamaican equivalent to prickle/thorn)

Riddles: How much different corner from Morant Point to Negril Point?

Answer: Two : left corner and right corner.

Riddles: Whoofa (whose) bed always wet?

Answer: River

Riddle: Four foot siddung under four foot a wait fi four foot.

Answer: Cat sitting under a table, waiting for rat.

Riddle: Walking down di road mi see one green house, inside it was one white house and inside that one red house with plenty lickle (little) brown window. What is that?

Answer: Watermelon

Riddle: Yuh ever see cow head wid two yie (eyes)?

Answer: Yes, wid mi own two eyes (Yes, with my own two eyes).

Riddle: Missis Queen dress tear, but no needle kyaan sew it.

Answer: Banana or plantain leaf

Riddle: Four brothers went on a trip, two before and two behind. The two behind could never catch up with the two in front.

Answer: The wheels on the car

Riddle: Jig a room, jig a hall, stand up in a corner.

Answer: Broom

Riddle: Little Miss Mary tear her yellow dress and nobody kyaan (can) fix it.

Answer: Ripe banana

Riddle: Yuh never want it, but when yuh get it, yuh take such good care of it.

Answer: Sore foot

Riddle: What is the difference between a plantain and a tailor

Answer: The plantain must fit (mature) to cut (harvest) and the tailor must cut to fit.

Riddle: Mi madda have a pretty house, but is one stick hold it up

Answer: Umbrella

Riddle: Why did the donkey go over the mountain?

Answer: Because it can’t go under it

Riddle: Put mi on kimbo, teck mi off kimbo, wash mi kimbo same way.

Answer: Old time iron pot (jester pot)

Riddle: Mi grandfather have a rope eena (in) him yard and every day it grow longer.

Answer: Melon or pumpkin vine

Riddle: What deh front a woman and backa cow?

Answer: The Letter ‘W’

Riddle: What do trains and clothes have in common?

Answer: They both spend a lot of time on lines.

Riddle: One slice a yam serve di whole world.

Answer: The moon

Riddle: Round like a biscuit, busy like a bee.

Answer: A clock or watch

Riddle: Why do we have to go to bed?

Answer: Because the bed can’t come to us.

Riddle: Round di road di rugged rascal runs, how many ‘R’s are in that?

Answer: None, there are no ‘Rs’ in the word that.

Riddle: If 60 seconds makes one minute, 60 minutes makes one hour, 24 hours makes one day, seven days makes; how many seconds are in one month?

Answer: Two: second and twenty second

Riddle: Going to town or coming from town, mi face still turn to town.

Answer: Tree (a tree has no face)

Riddle: What always goes up, but never comes down?

Answer: Your age or smoke

Riddle: Which two letters of the alphabet are never sick?

Answer: O K

Riddle: King takes off him crown to only one man. Who?

Answer: Barber

Riddle: Why dawg kyaan stay eena one yard? (Why can’t a dog stay in one yard?)

Answer: Because three feet make one yard and a dawg (dog) has four feet.

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