Through the week of celebrations, the Cultural Development Commission, a government agency, preserves Jamaica’s culture. Schools all across the island participate in cultural competitions.
The very best of these competitions are showcased during the week of August 1 – 6 and what a feast await all who sample. There is something for everyone but music and dance are the highlights of the event.
Jamaica’s population is 90% of African descent and was brought to the island as slaves to work on the sugar cane estates. Life was hard and there was very little recreation and entertainment so the slaves turned to the musical instruments they once used in Africa.
The drums, fife, abeng, cow horn, bamboo fiddles and many others instruments were first used to make music.Out of this era came the traditional folk dances like the maypole. This is a dance usually performed on the first day of May where group of dancers would plait a pole with ribbons.
There was also the Quadrille, a ballroom dance done by the plantation elite. The Kumina, an African ceremony performed by slaves had the music and dance as two of the major features.
It was out of the traditional folk music that Jamaica’s other music evolved. Today reggae, gospel, and dancehall are the more popular.
Come and join Jamaica’s top event this summer. If you are interested in learning about the island’s culture and want to see why they say ‘reggae is the heart beat of the people, you can’t miss these celebrations.
Learn more aboutJamaica’s Emancipation and Independence Celebrations August – 6
About the author:
Maureen Wright-Evans is the CEO of Jamaica Volunteer Vacations – a company specializing in packages that combine volunteering and a vacation. Find out how YOUcan experience a volunteer vacation