• Jacqueline Cameron

Do you Know What these Colorful Symbols and Emblems of Jamaican Independence in August 1962 Mean?

Updated: Jul 18, 2021

Jamaican Independence; Jamaican Heritage; Jamaican History; Jamaican People


Summary

The emblems and symbols of Jamaica’s Independence are a reminder of Jamaica's national goals, values, and history. The National Flag, the Coat of Arms of Jamaica (more correctly, the State Arms of Jamaica), and the National Anthem are the national emblems. The four national symbols are the ackee, the Swallowtail Hummingbird (popularly referred to as the Doctor Bird), the Blue Mahoe, and the Lignum Vitae flower.


The choice of the national emblems and symbols were made through consultation with the Jamaican nation at large. This was done so that the country and the world in general would grow to accept these emblems and symbols as representative of the many facets of Jamaica’s political, cultural and economic life.


During this season of "Emancipendence," Jamaicans adorn cars, houses and business places with national symbols in a show of patriotism and celebration of nationhood. Of course there are rules governing their appropriate use.


I can recall the excitement of nationhood as the new flag of Jamaica was hoisted at the National Stadium on Independence Day, August 6, 1962. Perhaps that’s why I so proudly wear “things Jamaican” – showing off the creativity and warmth of Jamaicans. This is what I share with you through “the Jamaican Experience”: our culture, attractions, people, and products.


Here are the Jamaican National Symbols which are cherished proudly by Jamaicans as it speaks to our character as a people and nation:


The National Symbols and Emblems of Jamaica


The National Symbols of Jamaica


The Jamaica Flag


The Jamaica National Flag which consists of a gold St. Andrew Cross, which divides the flag into four sections: two of them green (top and bottom) and two black (hoist and fly end).
The Jamaica National Flag

The Jamaica National Flag came into use on August 6, 1962, Jamaica’s Independence Day. It was designed by a two-party committee of the Jamaica House of Representatives. The present design emerged from those sent in by the public in a national competition. It was originally designed with horizontal stripes, but this was considered too similar to the flag of Tanganyika (as it was in 1962, only the yellow stripes are thinner), and so the St. Andrew’s cross was substituted.


The flag consists of a gold saltire, which divides the flag into four sections: two of them green (top and bottom) and two black (hoist and fly end). It is currently the only national flag that does not contain a shade of the colors red, white, or blue. The Flag follows the “Admiralty Pattern” (a standard of flag-making) and the proportion is 2 x 1.


Definitions:

Hoist: 1) The vertical height of a flag. ; 2) The side used to attach the flag to a pole. ; 3) The raising or lowering of a flag on a pole.

Fly: The furthest edge from the hoist end.


New Symbolism as of 1996 – “Hardships there are but the land is green and the sun shineth” is the symbolism of the Flag. Black symbolizes the strength and creativity of the Jamaican people; Gold, for natural wealth and beauty of sunlight; and Green stands for hope and agricultural resources.”


Original Symbolism – “Hardships there are but the land is green and the sun shineth” is the symbolism of the Flag. Black stands for hardships overcome and to be faced; Gold, for natural wealth and beauty of sunlight; and Green stands for hope and agricultural resources.”


The National Anthem of Jamaica

"Jamaica, Land We Love" is the national anthem of Jamaica, officially adopted in July 1962. It was chosen after a competition from September 1961 until March 1962, in which, the lyrics of the national anthem were selected by Jamaica's Houses of Parliament.


Adopted: 19 July 1962

Lyrics: Hugh Sherlock, July 1962

Music: Robert Lightbourne (arranged by Mapletoft Poulle), July 1962


The Anthem is the creative work of four persons, the late Rev. and Hon. Hugh Sherlock, OJ, OBE; the late Hon. Robert Lightbourne, OJ; the late Mapletoft Poulle and Mrs. Poulle (now Mrs. Raymond Lindo).

  • All persons should stand at attention at the playing of the National Anthem and men should remove their hats. Persons in uniform should salute.

  • The first verse of the National Anthem should be sung and/or played on the arrival and departure of the Governor-General and of the Prime Minister.

  • The National Anthem may be sung and/or played on occasions of public gatherings.

  • Singing of the National Anthem