Welcome to Keep It Jiggy's Jamaica Blog!
This is where you'll find info about Jamaica's people, places, style, food, music and experiences. Even if you only come here to read articles or search for hotel or events in Jamaica, you are essential to making our blog unique.
Our Jamaica blog is for the adventurous, the curious and the young at heart. Our goal is to provide you with the most interesting information about this beautiful Island nation. We've tried to provide a good overview of Jamaica, her parishes, places to stay, things to do, recipes to try, fun annual cultural and music events, the history of the unusual Jamaican place names you'll find there, an introduction to Jamaican Patois, and much, more more!
We've tried to make it easy for you to find your way around the place. Click on the tabs at the top of every page, or search the entire site from the box at the top of the right sidebar to find everything we have on that subject.
We hope you feel as passionately about Jamaica as we do, and we always want to hear what you have to say. Feel free to leave comments or suggestions for topics you'd like to see on our Jamaica blog. We'll do our best to deliver!
Enjoying the Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival 2015
This year's 19th staging of the Jamaica Jazz & Blues Festival is happening on the three evenings of January 29 to January 31, 2015. Are you ready for some great music?
This "Premier Music Festival in the Caribbean" always gathers the world's most talented entertainers to celebrate all genres of music in Jamaica in January. It attracts tens of thousands of fans from Jamaica and throughout the Caribbean, the USA and Europe. The 2015 staging will once again honor this musical diversity, and we've prepared a short guide to help you get the most enjoyment from it!
Jamaican Christmas Traditions
What I enjoy most about Christmas - in Jamaica and at home - are the unique traditions in our cultures and histories that make us who we are, and that celebrate the things the season represents - family, faith, community, generosity and love. Jamaican Christmas traditions celebrate all of these things, but you'll have to look beyond the obvious!
If you're visiting Jamaica during the holidays, you'll probably find that today's Jamaican Christmas is nearly as commercialized as Christmas in the U.S., Canada and Europe. If you manage to escape from the all-inclusive resorts, however, don't expect to see as many Christmas lights, artificial snow, trees and other decorations as you might see at home. But be ready to eat, drink and be merry!
Jamaicans are predominately Christians, so the Christmas holidays are special. Many Jamaican Christmas traditions have British colonial influences, as well as African, Indian, Spanish, and other cultural influences that have given the nation its rich diversity. Some traditions, like Jonkonnu, have faded, but you may still see a performance here and there.
Here are a few a few things to look for and a little about the history/origins of each.
(Click on the numbered sections at the bottom to continue. You will see this introduction on every page, so please scroll down the page to keep reading!)
Winnifred Beach in Portland Stays Public!
GREAT NEWS! For those of you who've been following the lengthy legal battle over beautiful Winnifred Beach in Portland, Jamaica, to keep it out of the hands of developers and maintain it as a public beach, it looks like justice has finally prevailed!! Please read the Jamaica Observer article below for details about the Court's decision this week.
Winnifred Beach is an authentic Jamaican public beach located on the northeast coast, just east of Port Antonio, on Fairy Hill Bay in the Fairy Hill District. (Some people call it Fairy Hill Beach.) The beach was originally part of the Winnifred Rest Home Properties, where there was a guest house for travelers from the 1950s to the late 1980s. The property was donated to the people of Fairy Hill for their use. However, taxes failed to be paid at some point, and the property was taken over by a Jamaican Government agency, the Urban Development Corporation (UDC).
New Name & Place for the Portland Jerk Festival 2014
If you've been waiting... and waiting... and waiting... to find out about the Portland Jerk Festival which would normally take place on the first Sunday in July, we finally have an answer!
The festival's new name is Boston Jerk & Music Festival and the Tropical Lagoon Resort is the new title sponsor. Not only that, but the festival has moved from its location at Folly Oval near Port Antonio, where it has been since 2007, back to its original home in Boston Bay, Portland!
This year's festival will be on Sunday, July 6, 2014, at the Boston Play Field. Gates will open at 10:00 AM. Admission prices are: Adults J$800, Children J$200. After 4pm - J$1,000.
I wish I could be there this year, because two of my favorite artistes - Bushman and George Nooks - are on the line-up!
Details are slow to come out, but the dates for SPF Weekend in Ocho Rios have been confirmed as August 1 through August 4, 2014 (Emancipation Day weekend).
Hosted by Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum, this series of parties offers top-shelf liquor, superb food, and entertains their sophisticated crowds with a mix of reggae, hip hop, pop, soca, dancehall and electronic music. From a Catamaran Cruise, to Carey Island, to The Pool Party, to oceanfront partying at Mammee Bay Beach Club, to the headline Soiree, SPF usually serves up 5 rocking events over four fun-filled days.
Now in its 6th year, the popular Smirnoff Dream Weekend 2014 party series is scheduled for Emancipation/Independence weekend, August 1 to 6, in Negril, Westmoreland, Jamaica.
Partygoers will be treated to an impressive line-up of DJs, artistes and celebrities, with many deejays flying into Jamaica from around the world. This year promises to highlight emerging music trends, such as the electronic dance music (EDM) craze that has grown more popular in Jamaica.
Once again, you have the option to buy a "VIP Season Band" which gives you access to exclusive lounges in each Smirnoff Dream Weekend 2014 event, exclusive shuttles to take you to the parties from your hotel, exclusive entrances at each event so you can enter hassle-free, top shelf bar and food, and waitress service.
Greetings readers! I'm way behind on new posts lately but I have some good stuff coming soon. Until then, maybe you could cast a vote to help my Canadian friend (and fellow Jamaica fanatic), Kristi Keller, in her quest to become the Tobago Island Connoisseur this summer! Voting is super easy, and she needs your help!
What's this Tobago Island Connoisseur thing all about?
Tobago’s Division of Tourism & Transportation is hosting a competition for one lucky Canadian to become the next "Tobago Island Connoisseur." This person will showcase the best of Tobago’s hotels, restaurants, natural beauty, culture and friendly people through social media.
The Jamaican bobsled team has been absent from the Winter Olympic Games for 12 years. They missed qualifying by only one place in 2006 for the Turin, Italy games and in 2010 for Vancouver, British Columbia.
But, they're back!
The original team (Devon Harris, Dudley Stokes and Michael White, with alternates Freddie 'Reggae' Powell and Caswell Allen) qualified for the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. They shot to fame because they were the ultimate underdogs, and we all love an underdog! Not only did they represent a tropical nation in a cold-weather sport, but they had to borrow sleds from other nations in order to compete.
Thanks for the Memories, Bunny Rugs!
With great sadness, I learned of the passing over the weekend of William "Bunny Rugs" Clarke, lead vocalist of the legendary Jamaican reggae band, Third World, and one of my all-time favorites. He shared a birthday with Bob Marley (February 6) and died on February 2, 2014 at his home in Orlando, Florida, following a bout with leukemia, just a few days shy of his 66th birthday. He is survived by his wife and 8 children.
Culture & Family Fun at Portland's Fi Wi Sinting 2014!
Fi Wi Sinting 2014, a unique cultural festival that pays tribute to Jamaica's African heritage, will mark it's 24th staging on Sunday, February 16th, from 10:00am to 8:30pm.
The phrase "Fi Wi Sinting" means "It is ours" in Jamaican patois, and captures the spirit in which Jamaicans embrace the food, traditions and customs that followed many of their ancestors from Africa. February is Black History Month and the Festival is Jamaica's biggest African-centered cultural event.
Enjoy a day for the entire family as you mingle with visitors, tourists and Jamaicans from all walks of life at this year's festival!