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geographic thoughts

From: zoe smith <zoesmith@fastmail.fm>
Date: Fri, 15 Oct 2004 20:07:05 -0700
To: public-ws-desc-meps@w3.org
Message-Id: <1097896025.13164.206584834@webmail.messagingengine.com>

Truly a nation “out of many, one people” Jamaica is a multifaceted
mosaic of international customs and traditions. Our ancestors, from
Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East, have helped to shape our
culture, creating one that is uniquely Jamaican. When visiting our
island home, take time to experience our culture… it’s what sets us
apart from other Caribbean destinations. Reason with a Rastafarian about
life, love or politics. Lose yourself in the rhythms and movements of a
people who still refuse to be constrained. Visit one of our many
theatres or stage shows and delight in our performing arts, showcasing
everything from Jonkonnu to jazz. Want to dance too? Join in the wild
revelry of Carnival and Augus’ Mawnin or just follow the reggae beat,
pulsing from street corners and rum bars island wide. After that, share
a meal with us –ackee and saltfish with roast breadfruit, escoveitched
fish, bammy and festival – our epicurean feasts will tantalize your
taste buds. In Jamaica, you’ll discover new worlds, and familiar ones
too, lots to learn about, and even more to love. No wonder we’ve been
called ‘the biggest little island in the world…’ It’s a title we can
live with.

Jamaica is a natural muse. Our land gleams in Technicolor, as lofty Blue
Mountains spill onto verdant plains, shimmering sands and turquoise
seas. Our people are bold, brash and bubbly, hailing from around the
globe to give a spectrum of skin tones, customs and traditions. Our rich
history and culture provide a plethora of ideas, images and untold
stories. Given all this, it’s no wonder Jamaicans pulse with a creative
energy that overflows into whatever we do. It’s in the way we talk,
walk, dance, dress and in the countless other nuances making up the
fabric of our everyday lives. Our creativity, however, is perhaps most
tangible in our visual art, which uses our country’s inspirational
palette to give a physical reflection of everything we are, have been
and will be. 

Religion is omnipresent in Jamaica – everywhere you go it permeates
academic debates, ceremonies, business and political life. We are a
predominantly Christian country, with large groups of Baptists,
Anglicans and Roman Catholics. Other religions, such as Islam, and
Judaism are also represented on a small scale, adding to the diversity
of our nation’s heritage.

On August 6, 1962, Jamaica became an independent nation. At the stroke
of 12 that hot summer night, the Union Jack of Great Britain was
lowered, and with much expectation, celebration and relief, the Jamaican
people commemorated the rising of their own colours – black, green and
gold – with dances, parades and religious ceremonies. 

There is a well-known adage asserting proudly that the heart of the
Jamaican people has never ceased to dance. It’s true – dancing is an
integral part of everyday Jamaican life. We dance everywhere and for all
occasions – for worship, cultural celebrations, formal events and social
gatherings. Once there’s music, hips gyrate, hands start to clap while
round buttocks roll, and everyone – old and young alike – finds himself
or herself moving to the infectious rhythmic beat.

  zoe smith
Received on Saturday, 16 October 2004 03:07:09 UTC

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