Our spoken traditions

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

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AS we reminisce on what we have accomplished, there are times we have to look back on what we believe and from whence we came. How are our belief systems formed? And why do we believe what we do? Let us look on our oral traditions to gain some insights. See if you have ever heard any of these:


Late at night


There are many different views on what to do and what not to do to ensure protection during the night.


* After six o'clock, don't sweep dirt outside, or you'll sweep out your luck.


* Say, "sorry, excuse me" before throwing water outside at night. This is to avoid throwing water on a 'duppy'.


* When you're coming in late at night, stop at the door and quickly enter backwards so as to prevent the 'duppy' from following you in.


* When you're walking late at night, you should carry a box of matches. Light two and throw it behind you, then put the other behind your ears. This way, the 'duppy' will be looking for the third one and will be confused, as he/she cannot find it. S/he'll stop following you and instead search for the third match and so you'll be safe.


* Never throw a stone into a mango tree at night. You just might raise the ire of the duppy who resides in it.


* In the countryside, if you hear a chains rattling at night, you just might be encountering a rollin' calf. A huge calf-like creature, a rollin' calf is believed to have blazing red eyes and usually chases travellers.


Hair growth


* You must not put comb under your arm or your hair will fall out, piece by piece.


* If you want your hair to grow, don't say "Thank you" after it is combed.


* If your hair is being combed when a donkey is braying, pull it to the east and west to ensure that all the hair grows even. There's a catch though, you have to pull it and let it go before the donkey stops braying.


* Cut a piece of your hair and put it in a banana stalk. As the tree grows, so will your hair.


— Shantayaé Grant


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