Travel the length and breadth of the island and you will find countless similarities in Jamaican homes. Many of these traditions that have been passed down from generation to generation and from parish to parish as people have moved between rural and urban areas. Here are nine funny things in a Jamaican home that others might find confusing.
1. Bags in bags!
One thing is undeniable—Jamaicans are the kings of recycling plastic shopping bags. Whether they live at home or abroad, you can bet that somewhere in their home is a large plastic bag filled with dozens of other plastic bags because you never know when you’ll need one, right?
2. An oven full of pots (and other kitchen items)
It’s common in Jamaican homes to find that the oven has become the perfect storage space for pots and pans, because why should that empty space just sit there not being used? Plus, the stove is literally right there so these items are super easy to reach when you need them!
3. Plants everywhere
We love to beautify our homes, and for many of us, plants are the way to do it. In addition to covering our porches with all kinds of flowers and plants, there are some homeowners who go a step further and fill the interior of their homes with an abundance of tropical plants. You may even find real and artificial flowers hanging from the ceiling!
4. Hanging quotes
We’ve all seen it—“When you come here, what you see here…” It has become the norm for Jamaican homes to feature this or some other popular quote hanging somewhere in their home. It’s typically accompanied by a picture of Jamaica’s 14 parishes or one of our national symbols such as the hummingbird or Lignum Vitae.
5. Couches wrapped in plastic
Jamaicans will welcome you into their home, but they don’t want you messing up their couches, particularly if they’re expensive. To prevent them from getting dirty, smelly, or old prematurely, the couches are summarily wrapped in plastic to reduce the likelihood of it being soiled.
6. A fridge of disappointment
Open the fridge in a Jamaican home and you’ll discover that the butter container does not have butter, and the ice cream container has rice and peas! We don’t set out to disappoint you, but why throw out a perfectly good container when it can be reused?
7. A million figurines
You’d be hard pressed to find a Jamaican home which doesn’t have a figurine of some kind in it. But some people go overboard, filling their homes from top to bottom with figurines of animals, smiling people, and flowers. It’s an old style of decorating that even modern Jamaicans can’t seem to shake.
8. Forbidden China and dinnerware
It’s a well-known rule in Jamaican homes that you’re not allowed to touch anything in the glass cabinet. It contains the Jamaican mom’s precious collection of China, dinnerware and cutlery reserved for use only on the most special occasions and you dare not touch unless given permission to do so.
9. The cookie container with sewing supplies
You know that blue container of Danish cookies? It’s the default sewing supplies container in every Jamaican home. If you open one and actually find cookies, count yourself lucky!