Jamaica’s natural beauty has long been an allure for tourists and locals alike. The island’s rich and vibrant heritage entices leisure seekers to delve into its eclectic blend of cultures, and offers a plethora of experiences to be enjoyed by the young and the “young at heart”. Known for its misty mountains, lush valleys, winding rivers and pristine beaches, the beauty of the island is rivaled only by the warmth of the people. The original inhabitants, the Tainos, named the island Xamayca, meaning land of wood and water. The composition of the population has changed significantly since the days of the Taino Indians, and now features 2.7 million inhabitants from ethnic groups such as Africans, Indians and Chinese, among others.
The potpourri that encompasses this mix of cultures can be observed in the excitement of the African derived Jonkunnu maskerade; the East Indian Tadjah of Hosay; the dragon dance that welcomes the Chinese New Year; and the funerary rituals of Nine Night and Dinki Minni which reflect the colour and spirituality of the first Afro- Jamaican religion – Revivalism. Vibrant expressions of Jamaica’s rich heritage is also evident in the pulsating beats of Reggae music and through arts and crafts.