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Home Culture Priceless Jamaican Childhood Memories – Part 1
Priceless Jamaican Childhood Memories – Part 1

Priceless Jamaican Childhood Memories – Part 1

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Being Jamaican isn’t just a nationality. It’s an experience; you have to live it to understand. If you ask a Jamaican about their childhood, oftentimes they’ll recall exciting stories and adventurous memories. Going to school in Jamaica was even more exciting and memorable. As a child, there were several things you had to “know by heart”. Today, we’ll take a look at eight (8) of them:

The National Anthem

After devotions on most, if not all, mornings you are to sing the National Anthem. Students are to stand at attention and sing the anthem with pride. Do you remember having to re-sing the anthem continuously if students make the “mistake” and insert the infamous “BOOM!”?

The National School Song

I’ve always felt immense pride whenever I hear the National School Song being sung. One of the greatest feelings is making a commitment to serve your homeland. Children could be heard “Pledging their heart forever, to serve with humble pride…” from a mile away. Don’t remember the song? Refresh your memory below:

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Mnemonics

A Mnemonic is an oratory tool used to assist in memorizing specific facts. An example of a mnemonic heard throughout the island is the tool “Thirty Days Hath September” which helped students to remember the number of days in each month. Read below and see if it jogs your memory.

Thirty days hath September,
April, June, and November,
All the rest have thirty-one,
But February’s twenty-eight,
The LEAP YEAR, which comes once in four,
Gives February one day more.

“Time Tables”

One of the school time traditions that could either make a child feel great about themselves or not is the time’s table. Emphasis on memorizing the table lasts throughout the academic career; it is a wonder that Jamaica’s make up is not all mathematicians. The higher the students advanced in grades, the more time tables expected. Great pride came from being able to recite them, especially at a young age. For some, great pain came from not knowing enough. Check out the creative style made by Chevon Sewell below of how this tradition has a modern sound.

Psalm 23, Psalm 100 and St. John 3:16

Jamaica is known to have the most churches per square mile, so it is no surprise that the bible would make this list. Specific chapters were often recited during devotions, but these were infamous and were/are considered staples. Everyone knew the Lord’s Prayer, the Psalm of Thanksgiving and “If God so loved the world…”

The Lord’s Prayer

It didn’t matter if you grew up in church or not, as long as you could talk, you learnt the Lord’s Prayer. This was the go-to prayer at devotion and in some households too. It could be said during any occasion or gathering.

childhood

Poems written by Famous Jamaicans

Whether it was written by Claude McKay, Lorna Goodison or Louise Bennett-Coverley, students have always been expected to know at least one stanza. These poems were recited on Heroes’ Day and during ‘Black History Month’.

Here’s an excerpt of “No Lickle Twang” being performed by Amanda Dougan:

Motivational Poems

Early childhood was filled with parables to teach young ones the right things. To spice up the offering, motivational poems were embedded in our brains which took us many introductions to actually understand. This is when “hog ask him mumma, ‘how yuh nose suh long’.”, would come in. Two popular ones were: “The Heights by Great Men” and “Labour for Learning”. These were recited in early mornings before we started our tasks for the day. Even though it was an everyday occurance, remember that they had to be said with confidence and pride every time. True? True!

If you are Jamaican or raised in Jamaica, what are some of your childhood memories? Come share, celebrate, boast and debate our Jamaican culture with us.

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Tiffany Janice McLeggon Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven. It is important that we let our lives be a positive example to the people we encounter. Everything that I am and everything that I do should reflect the glory of God.

Comment(2)

  1. That’s a Lovely Jamaican childhood reflection list, other important aspect of my Jamaican childhood also are 1) the creativity and recycling aspects of making our own toys, like 🪁 cross engine and Drancro kites out of book leaves, bamboo, coconut bow, Box kites and Baigy – trucks out of cardboard, used milk boxes and bottle stoppers- Skates out of wood and bearings, – making Gigs and and YoYo our of wood screws and plexiglass- Wheels to push out of wire and discarded circular objects, – making pop Gun with Avocado pear seeds and metal tubes and wire- making sling shot out of wooded crooks, rubber and leather- 2) raising tropical pet fish like qoupies, gold, angel, gouramies, black mollies, sword fish, fighters, etc 3) Raising pet birds like Pigeons, Barbie doves, parakeets, parrots, white wings, bald pates – 4) playing games like Dandy Shandy- 123 Red Light – Simon Says – Bull inna pen- jacks for girls, Marbles for boys and giving our marbles special names like TAW- Preps – Steely – Gulchy – Bembe etc, 5) making wooden horse and challenging your friends in races when it rains in the running water along the gutters of the streets 6) making your own cricket bats out of wood or coconut limb 7) playing Milkbox football at school during breaks and lunchtime 8) playing money football with fudges sticks and coins on top of our desks and many other things we often do at school and home with friends and family.
    Our Jamaican school life is uniquely adventurous, creative, and never dull,

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