HURRY, Entries Close In

What is a Nine Night in Jamaica?

Answered by Isheba Cornwall, Associate Writer

It is a tradition in Jamaica for members of a bereaved family, along with their friends and families, to come together on the night before a funeral.

This gathering is known to many as a "Nine Night" or "Dead Yard" which significance is not to mourn, but to celebrate the life of the deceased.

It is a mixture of Christian and African traditions which stays true to its name,a nd lasts for 9 days and nights with the ninth and final night historically being the night before the church service.

Nine Nights in Jamaica can be a group of friends and family gathered on the patio / veranda singing hymns, reading the bible and telling stories about the deceased, or it can be the entire community coming together to have a big celebration with music, food and dancing. It all depends on preferences and if the deceased was from a Christian home.


You may ask what's the importance of this gathering, why does it happen? It's that time when it is believed that the spirit of the deceased is given an "official" final send off. Nine Nights commemorates the passing of a loved one and is extremely important to the family of the deceased.

Why? Because this is the time when they are comforted by close friends and members of their community. This is the time for them to reminisce on the "good old days" and remember all the happy experiences they had with the decease.

Fun Fact #1: According to legend, it takes nine nights for the spirit to finally rest and find peace from the first night after the person dies to the night before the burial.

Some believe that nine nights go back to the times of slavery because it would take nine nights for the person’s duppy (ghost) to return home to Africa before going on to eternal rest.


In some communities in Jamaica, Nine Nights are perceived as a HUGE celebration / party. Its coupled with not only the traditional singing and dancing but with the nice old time Jamaican music, domino playing and our famous bammy and fry fish (with manish water soup) - and the rum!

The night starts out with prayer and possibly a scripture reading then moves right into stories about the deceased and when it gets to the wee hours of the night, the atmosphere starts to change and so does the genre of music.


The night usually starts out with gospel music, with the crowd favourite "Rock of Ages" and hymns like "All to Jesus", "Blessed Assurance" and "Great is Thy Faithfulness". During the course of the night the music changes to roots reagge and then to dancehall music which brings a higher energy and completely changes the atmosphere.

Nine Nights are historically very sacred to the Jamaican society and though it has somewhat changed in the way its executed over the years, the reason behind why it's done remains morally just.

VIDEO: Scenes From Live Night Night Event In Jamaica

Click the Play Button

Does it sound like an event you would attend? Or have you ever been to a Nine Night in Jamaica? What was it like then?

I welcome your comments below.

See also: Traditional Jamaican Traditions

Comments for What is a Nine Night in Jamaica?

Click here to add your own comments

Jul 26, 2019
So this is a party for 9 days and nights.
by: Anonymous

I wanted to know if this is a nine day party with food, drink etc...? Because to provide food, music, drinks for nine days and nights seems expensive.

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to JamaicaQuestions.

New! Talk To Me
Was the information helpful? Something needs changing? I welcome your feedback here.

Read More ...

Recommended For You ...

And, Before You Go!

Here (below) are some sweet deals on matching products at Amazon that you might have otherwise missed., by the way, is the internet's most reputable retailer and usually showcases only the best products that are related to your search. Be sure to check them out.

Note: If link does not show, please click here to be redirected to our page at

Great Articles You Might Have Missed

data-matched-content-rows-num="2" data-matched-content-columns-num="3"

Please help me get the message out by sharing this article with your friends on social media (links below). Thnx ;-)

Also connect with on Social Media: 
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube

Thank You!

P.S. Didn't find exactly what you were looking for? Still need help?

Click Here to try our dependable and effective Site Search tool. It works!

Or, simply click here and here, to browse my library of over 500 questions and answers! Chances are someone already asked (and got an answer to) your question.

About The Author

wellesley gayle - booking link

A patriotic Jamaican who adores his culture, Wellesley has been using this medium to share what he calls 'the uniqueness of Jamaica with the world' - since April 2007.  

To date, he serves over 8,300 unique readers / viewers per day.

His efforts have earned him featured positions in local publications, including the Jamaica Gleaner's Hospitality Jamaica, Carlong Publishers, as well as recognition from numerous prestigious international agencies and universities.

He invites you to join his friends list and stay updated on all the latest. You are also invited to join his exclusive patron community

Top Of Page
Wellesley Gayle

New Here?

I recommend you START HERE to enjoy the best of this website!

What's New?

Click Here to see the VERY latest articles and features.

Trending Now

Site Sponsors


Our Preferred Sponsors  & Friends (below)

(Our Sponsorship Policy)

Builders in Jamaica - Building Contractors
Recommended Building Contractors In Jamaica Photographers in Jamaica
Wedding Photographers
Cars For Sale In Jamaica
Cars For Sale


Click Here to Visit Our Sponsors' Page

Top Articles

What's New?

Below is a list of the very latest articles I posted on the site.

Recent Articles

  1. Our Wedding and Holiday In Jamaica was a dream come true!

    Aug 22, 19 03:41 PM

    Hello, I have been to your country twice now! Once in Montego Bay and stayed at the RUI Hotel. We went to Bob Marley's resting place and his little house

    Read More

  2. Where Can Jamaican Nationals Travel Without A Visa?

    Aug 21, 19 10:21 PM

    Cheree put me to work today when she asked me the question, 'where can Jamaicans travel with a passport only? She was, in essence, asking where can Jamaican

    Read More

  3. Devon House Jamaica - Explore Its Many Offerings To Visitors

    Aug 21, 19 09:11 AM

    Explore the many offerings at the historic Devon House Jamaica; A landmark Jamaican monument

    Read More

  4. What food items can I bring into Jamaica?

    Aug 20, 19 04:28 PM

    Whew! I was just about to log off but was drawn to this question, 'What food items can I bring into Jamaica?' Its such a popular question I didn't want

    Read More

New!  I've created a Welcome Audio. Just click the Play button below to listen.

Please subscribe here to get my latest updates.