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What Do Jamaicans Do For Recreation?
Favourite Past Times of Jamaicans

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jamaica_sport_domino.jpgWhat Do Jamaicans Do For Recreation? - Domino Game

by Venesha Johnson | Associate Writer

As a people, we Jamaicans are vibrant, fun and friendly. We love having a good time in our free time. As a visitor, you probably are thinking that our regular recreational activities would include some of the popular attractions that you have been to or planning to go to when you get here.

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The truth is many of our people have never visited any of our popular attractions, and these attractions are not a regular everyday visit type of thing for those of us who have been there before. So what do we do for recreation?

To put it simply our regular, everyday recreational activities as locals are sports, mainly football, playing games and going to the river. I must also add that this is from more of a rural Jamaican perspective. The amenities in rural and urban Jamaica are very different. If you are living in the city you are more than likely hanging out at parks, going to arcades to play games or just meeting up with friends to chill.

Sports: Football and Cricket

community_cricket_white_house_jamaicaCricket Game

As you probably already know in Jamaica, sports is more than just a pastime. It’s a big part of who we are as a people and our cultural identity. While track and field is where we dominate on the global stage, it is Football that is the king of community sports. And for this sport, it doesn't matter if you are living in the city or the country, it reigns supreme in neighbourhoods across the island.

Each week, you'll find enthusiastic teams battling it out on the field, while spectators line the sidelines, cheering on their local heroes. During community football season, the excitement reaches a fever pitch as teams from different areas compete in high-stakes matches, fostering fierce rivalries and unbreakable bonds.

And it’s not just matches either, on any day, you can find young boys and men playing a friendly game in the evenings after school or work.

Cricket follows closely behind as a beloved sport. From the makeshift pitches in local neighbourhoods to the historic grounds of Sabina Park, cricket is played with a passion that's deeply embedded in our culture. Whether it's a casual weekend match or a more competitive game, cricket brings people together in a spirit of friendly competition and shared heritage.

Games: Domino, Ludy (Ludo) and Gambling

jamaican_ludo_board.png

Here, playing dominoes is a popular recreational activity. It is the norm for me to pass the older men of my community setting up their domino games and having a drink as I head home each evening. It is played by everyone, right across Jamaica.

Domino did not originate in Jamaica, like a lot of other famous games practised there. It originated in China and travelled to Europe during the 18th century. Due to the influences that European settlers brought to the Caribbean, it evolved into what it is today.

Ludo or as we call it, Ludy, is a popular game as well. Every and anyone loves and will spend hours playing the game. It is one of my favourite past times and the vibrant colours and peculiar names of the 4 “homes” or bases are almost just as entertaining as the game itself.

In recent years, gambling boxes have become another popular recreational activity. These electronic games of chance have found their way into our local shops and bars. Whether it's the thrill of a potential win or simply the fun of playing, gambling boxes have added a new dimension to Jamaica's recreational landscape.

Roadside Hangouts

Most communities, especially rural ones have different unofficial, official hangout spots where different groups will gather in the evenings and on weekends. Drinks are had, stories are shared and games are played all while listening to music blasting from the shop or, even someone’s car. It all leads to a great time and wonderful memories.

River Trips

dunns_river_falls_tripRiver Trip - Dunn's River

While the beaches here are undoubtedly beautiful, it's the community rivers that hold a special place in the hearts of locals. Any day of the week, you'll find families and friends gathering at these natural oases, enjoying the refreshing waters and the serene surroundings. River days are filled with laughter, splashing, and the simple joy of being in nature. Whether it's a spontaneous trip or a planned outing, the rivers offer a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

In Jamaica, leisure time is a colourful tapestry made of games, sports, and enjoyable river activities. Every activity, whether it's kicking a football, playing dominoes, or lounging by the river, celebrates the island's natural beauty, culture, and sense of community.

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References & Sources For What Do Jamaicans Do For Recreation?

  1. Cultural life (no date) Encyclopædia Britannica. Available at: https://www.britannica.com/place/Jamaica/Cultural-life (Accessed: 10 June 2024).
  2. My Island Jamaica Site Search (no date) My Island Jamaica. Available at: https://www.my-island-jamaica.com/site_search.html (Accessed: 10 June 2024).
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