9 October, 2007
Dr. Liddy Hope
The word culture has very broad and varied meanings. In every part of the world, culture
means and symbolises different things for the people who live and experience the culture.
Culture is the defining feature of any society, and dictates why and how people live the way they
do. In general terms, culture can be seen as the total complement of language, values, beliefs,
behaviour and material objects that constitute ones way of life. Culture is the impetus behind an
individual’s actions and beliefs, it dictates who a person will inevitably become, and consists of
both non material and material aspects. The concept of culture is something held very highly by
Bahamians as we are very patriotic and proud of our rich, unique and eccentric way of life. For
many years, stories and superstitions of Bahamian culture have transcended time, and are
continuously passed through the generations. The material aspects of Bahamian culture are more
or less, very similar when compared with other world cultures. It is the non material aspects of
Bahamian culture, such as its folkways, ideologies and values, mores, language, and taboos that
set us apart from the rest of the world.
A folkway is a norm of everyday behaviour that people follow for sake of tradition and
convenience. Bahamian culture has many of these folkways that people act on in order to be seen
as true Bahamians, and these have existed for many years and continue to be practiced each day.
One of these folkways is for the household family to go to church on Sunday morning and
worship together, even if you are sick, tired from partying the previous night, or if it was
storming and hailing. No matter the circumstance, you are expected to go to church, whether you
wanted to or not. Bahamians believe that it is an obligation to give God thanks, by attending