Writing these pages on Jamaican customs, traditions and beliefs, has been a learning experience for me, and I'm a Jamaican!
Talking to friends of different ages and backgrounds has allowed me to discover many practices and beliefs outside my immediate experience.
Christmas and Easter traditions , as well as customs dealing with birth and death are explored on other pages. This page will share Jamaican customs and beliefs that touch other aspects of life.
One of our most widespread customs is "Pardner" (partner), an established method of saving outside the formal banking system. It works like this:
A group of individuals agree that each will save a set amount (called a hand) at regular intervals, usually weekly or monthly. This money is collected by one member of the group who has been designated as banker. So, for example, if 8 pardners throw a hand of $1000 weekly, over the next 8 weeks the banker will pay $8000 (the draw) to one pardner each week until every pardner has gotten a draw.
It may seem strange for a formal lottery game to be included in Jamaican customs, but Cash Pot has become an institution among working class Jamaicans since its introduction a few years ago.
Cash Pot is based on Drop Pan, a game brought to Jamaica by Chinese immigrants.Tickets numbered 1 to 36 are sold islandwide. There is a minimum price per ticket, but no maximum. A number is randomly drawn by the operators of the lottery, and the holders of that number win multiples of whatever price they paid for the ticket.
Each number has at least one meaning (mark). e.g. lizard is 31, ripe is 32. Buyers use these marks, as well as guesses, dreams, and other signs (called rakes) to help them decide which number to buy. Many participants believe that the numbers are not randomly chosen, but are picked by a "Chineyman" who is constantly trying to outsmart them.
I hope you've enjoyed this look at a few of our traditions and beliefs. People say a lot of things about us, but one thing for sure - we're not boring!
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