Happy Independence Day Jamaica!

August 6th, 1962, INDEPENDENCE DAY! A day that will light up the island of Jamaica until the end of time. Free from three centuries of British rule, ecstatic Jamaicans launched fireworks into the sky as Jamaican flags were lowered all over the island. On this day, National Stadium was filled with over 20,000 emotional people celebrating one of the greatest days of Jamaica. Former Prime Minister Sir Alexander Bustamante gave a poignant analysis of what independence meant to the Jamaican people: “Independence means the opportunity for us to frame our own destiny and the need for us to rely on ourselves in so doing. It does not mean a license to do as we would like. It means work and law and order. Let us resolve to build a Jamaica which will last and of which we and generations to come will be proud, remembering that especially at this time the eyes of the world are upon us.” Today marks 52 years of Independence for the island that has one of the biggest cultural and religious impacts in the world. 
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(Children gather round Norman W Manley during Jamaica’s Independence Day celebrations {Getty}) 

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Princess Margaret arrives at Gordon House to open the first Parliament of Jamaica.

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“The Daily Gleaner” August 8th, 1962

If you’ve never heard the Jamaican National Anthem or the Jamaican Pledge, take a moment and listen to these beautiful words sung and recited.

10 Facts about Jamaica

Happy Independence Day to all the Jamaicans out there. Here are 10 facts you might or might not know.

Map of Jamaica

1.  Jamaica is the first in the Western world to build a railway only 18 years after Britain and before the United States.

2. The Milk River Bath and Mineral Spa is the most radioactive spa in the world. Its waters are nine and three times more radioactive than those at Bath, England, and those at Karlvoy Vary, Czech Republic respectively.

3. Jamaica is the first English-speaking country in the Caribbean to gain Independence, which was in 1962.

4. Besides the United States, Jamaica is the country which has won the most Olympic and world medals.

5. Jamaica is third place on the list of countries to have ever won the Miss World titles the most.

6. The Golf Club, in the parish of Manchester, is the oldest hotel in the western world and was established in 1868 in Jamaica.

7. Jamaica is the first team from the English-speaking Caribbean to qualify for the Football (Soccer) World Cup. This was the 1998 championship.

8. Jamaica is the first country to sign a Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria grant agreement.

9. Jamaica was the first tropical country to enter the IOC Winter Olympics. The bobsleigh team’s efforts inspired the film Cool Runnings.

10. Jamaica is the first country in the Caribbean region to launch a website, jamaicatravel.com. This was in 1994!

— Melaine Warren

*Originally posted on Jamaica Observer

20 Popular Jamaican Dishes

Check out this awesome list of Jamaican food you should be enjoying for Jamaican
Independence Day!

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1. Jerk Chicken is the most popular Jamaican dish known worldwide for its authentic Jamaican jerk flavor. Using spices such as the pimento, scotch bonnet pepper, scallion, onions and thyme. There are some with their secret ingredients but those are the basic. Served jerk pan style or authentic original style roasted over coals on top of the pimento wood.

2. Jerk pork is second and uses similar seasonings as the jerk chicken. Not as popular as the chicken because it’s more expensive, the most known place in Jamaica to find jerk pork is in Boston, Portland. Because of the popularity of the jerk pork found in Boston, people from all over the island will name their dish “Boston Jerk Pork” which would increase sales, as it is believed that the best tasting pork originated in that part of the island.

3. Red peas (kidney beans) soup made with salt beef and or pig tails. Pig tail in Jamaica is cured with salt and has to be soaked overnight or pre-boil for a few minutes to get some salt out before cooking. The dish is made with the peas, taro, yellow yam, dumplings and scallion, pimento, thyme and pepper. You have a choice to use coconut milk or not, depending on your taste.

4. Steamed fish (at this point there is no particular order because all the dishes are loved the same). In Jamaica is actually stewed fish. It is mostly done on the beach especially Healthshire and some other very popular beaches around the island. Scallion, pimento, pepper, thyme, bammy and sometimes carrots and potatoes are done with this dish. Every cook has their own steam fish style so everywhere you go you get a different flavor….mm mm.

5. Fried fish and fried bammies. In case you are wondering, bammies are made from cassava. Cassava has been in Jamaica for a very long time and was the main staple of the Arawak Indians. The root is grated or milled, squeezed dry and them made into flat (1/2 to ¾ in thick cakes). Bammy is a tasty food and is very popular with fried, steamed or roasted fish.

6. Roast fish. This is really a fish steamed in foil. The fish is seasoned and stuffed with callaloo (the Jamaican spinach) and steamed on a grill. You can season with the jerk spice and it becomes jerk fish.

7. Stewed peas Most households make this dish once per week every week. It’s made with red kidney beans called red peas here in Jamaica. We cook the peas with the pig tail and salt beef until all is soft then we add our seasonings and cook until a gravy is formed. This is quite similar to the soup but the soup has lots more water and this is served with rice. The soup is a dish by itself. In the stewed peas we put some tiny little dumplings called spinners. The taste of the stewed peas and soup are distinctly different.

8. Chicken foot soup. The feet of the chicken are used to make soup. We use pumpkin, carrots, potatoes, cho-cho, yellow yam and a packet of soup powder mix that comes in different flavors.

9. Manish water. This is a soup made from the head, feet and tripe of the ram goat. In some countries it’s known as Billie goat. It is very important to use the ram goat because it gives a different flavor that the “she goat”, yes that’s what we call a nanny goat. Another important ingredient in the mannish water is young bananas. You slice the bananas thinly with skin and all and cook them in the soup. Ingredients include yellow yam, dumpling, potato, pumpkin and carrots. You can add other things if you like. Use a ram goat noodle to flavor the soup!

10. Cow cod soup is another manly soup that only the strongest of men eat. In Jamaica we don’t say “eat soup”, we say “drink soup” because soup must have a lot of fluid that we drink from the soup bowl. In case you are wondering what is the cow cod, it is the testicles and or the manly organ of the bull. We call both male and female cows, even the bull…lol but it’s really bull cod soup. Add your ingredients to your preference.

11.Curried goat This is maybe the third or fourth most popular dish but it is not 100% Jamaican. The idea of the curry is Indian but the method of making the dish is Jamaican. The Indian will burn their spices in the oil before adding the meat. Jamaicans add their spices directly to the meat, rubbing in the flavor with their hands. We make sure the oil is smoking than add the meat and cover the pot. We stir the meat ever so often to keep it from burning. When we are satisfied that the seasoning has penetrated the meat enough and it has a good color we add a little water. If the there is fluid in the pot from steaming the meat, we let it cook in its own juices until ready to eat. Serve with white rice and boiled green bananas.

12. Curried chicken is a very popular quick meal that friends make when they are on the river at a cookout or after a football match. It is done similarly to the curried goat but cooked much quicker. The chicken is cut into small to medium or even bite sized pieces.

13. Fricassee chicken is a commonly known as stewed chicken. It is usually seasoned with all your favorite spices and placed and pot with hot oil and covered to let steam and cook in it’s own juices. Browning or soy sauce is used to make it dark. Did I mention that Jamaicans like their meat dark?

14. Brown stewed chicken This is done by frying the chicken until dark brown then stewing with seasoning and water until the gravy has a nice consistency. This is the most popular Sunday dinner served with rice and peas.

15. Tripe and beans The cow tripe is cleaned and washed in the river. I like it if I make it myself because the truth is I am a bit persnickety when it come to my food. Broad beans are cooked with the tripe and stomach to make a nice stew, eaten with rice.

16. Oxtail and beans I love the tail of the ox which is larger than the regular cow tail. This part of the animal is closer to the spine so when jointed you get a nice looking piece of meat. It takes a long time to cook so start cooking 3 hours before dinner. It is often cooked with broad beans.

17. Salt Fish (cod fish) run dung (run down) This dish is definitely maybe one of the most original and authentic Jamaican dishes you will find anywhere. The coconut milk is reduced to about a third then the cod fish which has been soaked or boiled is cut into bite size pieces and added to the coconut reduction. Season with scallion, thyme, scotch bonnet pepper and lots of black pepper. Served with dumplings, renta yam and boiled bananas or roast breadfruit.

18. Ackee and saltfish This is our national dish and should be at the number one spot but unfortunately a lot of people around the world don’t know the ackee and certainly not the dish. Ackee is a fruit that is consumed like a vegetable. It is usually cooked until tender (about 15 -20 minutes), the cod fish is boiled with the ackee to give the ackee flavor and to reduce the saltiness. The cod fish is cut into very small pieces after being boiled. The water that they were boiled in is thrown away and the cod fish is cooked with scallion, onions, garlic and pepper then the ackee and black pepper are added. Stir thoroughly and serve with roast breadfruit or yam, boiled bananas and dumplings. Also very nice with warm bread or white rice.

19. Fish tea This is actually fish soup. There are different versions, some lighter than others drinking like a broth while others are a full meal. The most common fish to use for this is the doctor fish which is said to put back strength in the body. Add your preferred vegetables but remember to add the young green bananas.

20. Cow Foot This one I am not very fond of but many people love it. It takes a while to cook and is served with almost any staple you want. Remember to season this well to make sure it’s flavorful. You may add beans if you like.

Author: Cardissa

*Originally posted on Hub Pages