The National Flag

The Jamaica National Flag is the proudest symbol of Jamaican independent Jamaica, the first symbol of the new nation seen at seconds after midnight on August 6, 1962, when green, gold and black flag was raised at the national stadium, replace the British flag – the red, white and blue Union Jack.

The Flag was designed prior to August 6 by bipartisan committee of the Jamaica House of Representatives designed the Jamaican Flag.

The interpretation of the colors are: Green- represents hope and agricultural resources, Gold – the natural wealth and beauty of sunlight, and Black – the strength and creativity of the Jamaican people. Together the three colors depict: “The sun shineth, the land is green and the people are strong and creative.

The National Fruit

The Ackee, a popular component of the Jamaican national dish, “ackee and saltfish” is the national fruit of Jamaica, but importantly a fruit that must be cooked before it is eaten.

The fruit is representative of the slave era in Jamaica, as it imported to the island in the 17th century, believed to be on a ship. The yellow fruit encased in a red-pod grows, is edible (cooked) when the pod opens on the tree. It grows across in abundance, and beside a main dish for Jamaicans at home is processed and exported in a canned form to Jamaican communities internationally.

Ackee is a very delicious fruit and when boiled and cooked with seasoning and salt fish or salt pork, and is considered one of Jamaica’s greatest delicacies.

The National Bird

The doctor bird or swallow tail humming bird, is one of the most outstanding of the 320 species of hummingbirds and lives only in Jamaica. These birds’ beautiful feathers have no counterpart in the entire bird population.

For years the doctor bird has been immortalized in Jamaican folklore and song. According to Jamaican lore the swallow tail humming bird was named the ‘Docitor Bird’ by Jamaicans years ago because the erect black crest and tails resemble the top hat and long tail coats doctors used to wear in the old days. Another version of the lore is that the birds received the nick name because of the way they seem to ‘inject’ several species of flowers as they extract their nectar.

The National Flower

The Lignum Vitae (the “wood of life”) was found in Jamaica by Christopher Columbus. The flower is the flora foliage of Lignum Vitae trees in dry woodlands along the north and south coasts of the island. The trees produce an attractive blue flower, which grows in a cluster looking like a bouquet Jamaican lore suggests in the old Jamaica brides in rural communities, and on plantations, carried the flower as their bridal bouquet.

The Coat of Arms

The Jamaican national motto is ‘Out of Many One People’, based on the population’s multi-racial roots, and the ethnic composition of the society. The motto is represented on the Coat of Arms, showing a male and female member of the Taino tribe standing on either side of a shield which bears a red cross with five golden pineapples. The crest shows a Jamaican crocodile mounted on the Royal Helmet of the British Monarchy and mantling.

The National Tree

The Blue Mahoe is an attractive, tall, slim tree, indigenous to the island and grows quite rapidly, often attaining 66ft, and is often used in reforestation especially at higher elevations and in wet regions of the island.

Like the Lignum Vitae it also produces a beautiful flower that changes colors as it matures.

The wood derived from the tree is very hard and durable, and is widely used for making Jamaican furniture, and a variety of craft items including carvings.

10,831

square kilometers (area)

2,776,377

Jamaicans in Jamaica

659,771

Jamaicans in the U.S. (estimated)

246,478

Jamaicans in Florida (estimated)

National Pledge

“Before God and all mankind,

I pledge the love and loyalty of my heart,

The wisdom and courage of my mind,

The strength and vigour of my body in the service of my fellow citizens;

I promise to stand up for Justice, Brotherhood and Peace,

To work diligently and creatively,

To think generously and honestly,

So that Jamaica may, under God,

Increase in beauty, fellowship and prosperity, and,

Play her part in advancing the welfare of the whole human race.”

The pledge is mostly used in Jamaican schools at the beginning and end of the school term, and on other special occasions.

National Anthem

Eternal Father bless our land,
Guard us with Thy Mighty Hand,
Keep us free from evil powers,
Be our light through countless hours.
To our Leaders, Great Defender,
Grant true wisdom from above.
Justice, Truth be ours forever,
Jamaica, Land we love.
Jamaica, Jamaica, Jamaica land we love.

Teach us true respect for all,
Stir response to duty’s call,

strengthen us the weak to cherish,
Give us vision lest we perish.
Knowledge send us Heavenly Father,
Grant true wisdom from above.
Justice, Truth be ours forever,
Jamaica, land we love.
Jamaica, Jamaica, Jamaica land we love.

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