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Very Superstitious...10 Old Wives' Tales Jamaicans Still Believe

by Kay Grant | Associate Writer

Jamaicans are really superstitious people, some of the most superstitious in the world, but that just adds to our colour and flavour. There are many superstitions in Jamaican culture, so many that it is sometimes hard to keep up with them. From the numerous superstitions about pregnancy to how to avoid ‘duppies’ (ghosts), Jamaicans are creative even in superstition. Below are some of the top Jamaican paranoia solutions.
  1. The Lingering Black Bat (Moth) – In Jamaica, in addition to the regular bats, we also call very large moths ‘bats. Now according to Jamaica folklore, if a bat lingers around a particular person, it means that one of his or her relatives has died, and the ‘duppy’ has come back in the form of the insect to inform them. So when in Jamaica lookout for those ‘bats’.

  2. Pregnant Women Should Not Climb Fences – If a pregnant woman climbs over a fence, her child will grow up to become a thief. We know, we know, why would a pregnant woman be climbing a fence? Jamaican women tend to be on the stubborn side, and many insist on doing most things as normal (which, yes, ‘normal’ at times include jumping fences).

  3. Pregnant Women Should Not Ingest Pepper – If a pregnant woman eats pepper her baby will be born blind. Another one that some of us do not follow, because we love our spicy food here. That task is especially hard for pregnant women who crave spicy food during their pregnancy, yikes, can you imagine the torture?

  4. Cutting a Baby’s Nails - A newborns nail must never be cut with a scissors. According to Jamaicans, this child is liable to become a thief when he is older.

  5. Child Resemblance and Luck – A baby boy who resembles his mother will be lucky, and so will a baby girl who resembles her father. In Jamaica when things are the opposite, it is known as very bad luck. Pregnant women pray often pray that they get ‘lucky’ children.

  6. A Baby’s Umbilical Cord - Almost every Jamaican can show you a tree planted in their familial home that is the ‘Navel String Tree'. This is because within three days to a year of a child’s birth the umbilical cord must be buried and a tree planted there. If the tree is destroyed somehow, the child must be given money to compensate for the loss. If the land is sold, a sucker from the original tree must be brought to the new land and planted there instead. Be careful not to let the baby’s 'Navel String' fall to the floor, this is bad luck.

  7. Don’t Break ANYTHING During A Wedding reception – Want to have a happy marriage? Then please ensure that nothing, and we meant nothing is broken during a wedding reception. Go to any Jamaican wedding reception, and hear something, anything breaks during the function, the faces of the guest and bridal party with only register horror. We guarantee you.

  8. Preparing A Dead Person For Burial - When dressing a dead person, buttons must be removed from their clothes and the garments must be pinned or sewn without knots or the duppy (ghost) will come back. Pockets must also be sewn up or the duppy will return and fill it with stones and harm living persons.

  9. Removing a Dead Body – Always remember, that the body MUST be removed feet first and through the front door, NEVER the back. If the back door is used, that ghost will never leave the house.

  10. Dreams About Funerals and Weddings - If you dream about a funeral chances are you'll be attending a wedding soon. However, if you dream about a wedding you might be going to a funeral soon.
As you have probably realized by now, a lot of our superstitions have to do with death.

Watch This Video!

Where a Jamaican Woman Recalls Her Spooky Encounter With a Duppy!

Those are just some of the more prominent Jamaican superstitions, which ones were you aware of? Do you know of any others?

I also recommend you read, 14 Common Jamaican Superstitions.


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