10 interesting Jamaican beliefs and customs

Old time people say ‘belief kill and belief cure’ and this is absolutely true. Oftentimes these things we say and subscribe to make little to no sense, but we continue to do them out of tradition.

Jamaican customs and belief are uniquely theirs., but also retentions of their African ancestry.

Our local customs are strong. Indeed, visitors to our island marvel at and revel in our culture and customs even as many think they are old wives’ tales. Even those who do not subscribe to them will attest to the fact that their parents or their grandmothers do, as it was part of their existence.

At our core, we are who we are.

Check out our list of practices below and let us know which you still do to this day.

1. Do not point on a grave: If you do you had better ‘spin you roll’ and bite all ten fingers

Pointing at a grave? We beg you to reconsider. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

2. Do not sweep at night: You granny never tell you that you are sweeping out all you good luck?

3. Don’t throw out water at night and not say ‘excuse me’ first: Mind you wet up Maas Joe or Miss Ena. Duppy nuh waa ketch up nuh fresh cold.

4. Do not open umbrella indoors: At least not if you intend to get married.

5. When going home late, enter your home backwards: This will ensure that any spirits you encounter do not follow you inside.

6. If you have a baby boy, do not cut his hair until he begins to walk: Ideally you should not cut his hair until he can both walk and start talking.

That’s a beautiful baby boy…ensure you don’t cut his hair before he’s walking. Or talking. Maybe just wait ’til he starts school, m’kay?

7. Not jinxing a wish for oneself by knocking on wood: If you want all those high hopes and dreams of yours to come true, take all precautions necessary.

8. Avoid letting girls or women on their menses hold a newborn baby: It is said this will cause the baby to have stomach issues.

9.  Do not leave your hair or finger nail clippings lying around: People who do not like or envy you can take them and carry them go obeah you.

10. Do not attend the funeral of someone you did not get along with: If you didn’t get along with someone who passed, avoid going to their funeral. If you do, you may get a ‘box’ (slap) that could twist your mouth or even your whole face!