Regina, Gigi, Irem, Amanda

Countries of the Caribbean

Dominican Republic
Puerto Rico


1) Name the ethnicity/country/heritage of native Caribbean peoples. In what ways are the traditions, and values mirrored in Caribbean culture and society today.

2) How has the Caribbean's culture been affected by foreign involvement through the years?

3) What is probably the most major factor that influenced much of present-day Caribbean culture? Name a couple of ways in which this is represented.

4) What religions are practiced fairly commonly in the Caribbean, and which are rarely seen anywhere else? How do these religious beliefs and values affect daily life?

5) How has modernization affected the health and education of the people in the Caribbean?


1) How has the Caribbean’s culture been affected by foreign involvement through the years?

2) How has slavery changed native Caribbean culture over the years?

3) How has modernization affected the health and education of the people in the Caribbean?

Regina and Gigi's Lesson Plan:

Caribbean Culture


Religions in the Caribbean are largely influenced by previous foreign involvement an colonialism. In general, the Spanish and French Caribbean are Catholic and the British and Dutch Caribbean are Protestant. In the Bahamas especially, many denominations of Christianity are found, such as Anglicans, Baptists, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Methodists, and Lutherans, to name a few. Other religious groups include Jews, Hindus, Muslims, and Presbyterians. Despite this variance, most of the culture recognizes Christian religious celebrations, although they may not have a full understanding of the faith. The Caribbean is also home to many diverse, blended religions. These include Vodun, a blend of Christianity and religions from Benin, Africa; and Santeria, a blend of Christianity and Yoruban religions of West Africa. As a result of the Rastafarian Movement, Hinduism has also been blended with African religions. Animism and Pocomania also exist in certain areas. Animism teaches that animals, plants, and inanimate objects all have souls. Pocomania is a combination of Christianity and animism. Voodoo exists in small concentrations in the Dominican Republic. Superstitions passed down through many generations regarding spirits and 'black' and 'white' magic also are found, mostly in the Bahamas. All of these different religious groups live together to create a colorful, diverse group of people in the Caribbean.

Holidays and Festivals

Holidays and festivals in the Caribbean are built off the religions of its inhabitants. Most people celebrate Christian holidays such as Christmas, "Fat" Tuesday (often called by different names such as Carnival) and Easter, much as many Americans celebrate them regardless of their religion. These religious holidays are often celebrated with feasts, Masses, and gift-giving. In Puerto Rico, Catholic Saints' festivals are celebrated year-round with parties, parades, traveling fairs, and huge dances. In the Bahamas, a huge festival and parade are held for a holiday called Junkanoo, combining Christmas and New Year's. Many other holidays are based in historical events. Most countries celebrate some form of Independence Day. In Cuba, political holidays include the Remembrance of the National Revolution on July 26, which is marked by a carnival and also commemorates the introduction of a sugar-cane harvesting machine that saved many people a lot of work; and February 24, the anniversary of their Second War for Independence. Jamacia also has its own Independence Day on the first Monday in August, as well as other patriotic holidays. The Dominican Republic celebrates its Independence Day on February 27, a Restoration Day on August 16, and a Constitution Day on November 6. Some national holidays of the Bahamas are Bahamian Independence Day (July 10), Emancipation Day (1st Monday in August; freedom of slaves in British colonies), and Discovery Day (October 12; landing of Christopher Columbus on San Salvador in 1492). The Bahamas are also home to almost constant parties; there's always one on one of the islands. They are often regattas, or boat races supplemented by beauty pageants and cooking demonstrations.



There are many fruits and vegetables in the Caribbean that have become well known because they have been exported to North America and Europe. Some of them include oranges, papaya, bananas, watermelon, and grapefruit. Legumes, a dry fruit also known called a ‘pod’, are also very popular. Fruits are also used in desserts, such as fruit salad, and black fruitcake. There are many common proteins like fish, conch, goat meat, pork, and beef. Foods in the Caribbean are highly spiced with Annatto, curry, pimento, cinnamon, and ginger. Bush tea was a popular beverage and was also used as a remedy for the common cold, asthma, high blood pressure, and fever. A dish called “cook-up” is a popular dinner that usually involves rice, vegetables, and meat, but can be made with whatever ingredients are on hand. Rice is one of the most popular foods in the Caribbean. There are a lot of chronic diseases in the Caribbean because of the diet. In the past, there was malnutrition, which was recently solved by the increase of protein and calories in people’s diets. The recent fast food restaurants, which are high in fat, sugar, and salt, and recently, processed food have been contributors to diseases in the Caribbean. Some of these diseases are diabetes, hypertension coronary heart disease, cancer, and obesity.
Google Images


Education is very important in the Caribbean. The first University was founded in Santo Domingo in 1538. Today, there are over twelve universities and colleges in the West Indies. Because of this, illiteracy is no longer a problem. The education system is based on one that Britain uses with Primary education for students ages five to ten, and Secondary education for students ages eleven to sixteen. More advanced levels are also offered. There is an equal enrollment of male and female students. People also learn by watching educational television, and going to libraries. There is also a popular graduate school for medicine.


• Barbados- British
• Antigua- British
• Jamaica- British, but prefers pre-colonial heritage
• Aruba- Dutch
• Virgin Islands- Dutch, purchased by U.S.
• Dominican Republic- Spanish
• Puerto Rico- Spanish/American
• Guadeloupe- French
- African heritage


The most common language in the Caribbean is Creole. It is a combination of African and European languages and was created so that the slaves could communicate with the plantation owners. French Creole derived from this language and forms of it are spoken in Haiti, Martinique, Guadeloupe, St. Lucia, Dominica, and French Guyana. Papiamento is another form of Creole. This is a unique language that is a blend of Dutch, Portuguese, English, and African and is the official language of Aruba. Jamaica has its own language which is called Patwa, or Patois.

Music & Dance

Currently in the Caribbean, reggae and modern rap are very popular. All of the original music include African beats and also some Indian and Latin styles. Salsa originated in Cuba and then was adopted by the Puerto Ricans. Another style of music that originated in the Caribbean is merengue, specifically from the Dominican Republic. Puerto Ricans have created another type of sound called Bomba & Plena. Dancing is part of their music and everyday life.


  • Older homes were made of palm trees
  • Painted in bright colors to conceal the poverty
  • Now there are large metropolitan and modern cities


  • African traditional styles
  • European modernization
  • Cuba influenced Angolan literature
    • Cuban writers, who wrote of experiences in Angola, were mostly white
    • This kept Cuba and Angolan relations close

Art & Museums

  • Art was based on the country’s culture and different movements
  • Many of the artists studied in Europe
  • Cuban artists were receiving more recognition due to political reasons
  • Gallery of Modern Art

Works Cited
“Angola: Literature and External Influence.” Greenwood Daily Life Online. 2007.
Greenwood Publishing Group. 9 May 2007 <>.
Barlas, Robert. “Cultures of the World: Bahamas”. Cultures of the World. New York:
Marshall Cavendish, 2006.
“Caribbean.” Encyclopedia Americana. Encyclopedia Americana. Scholastic Lib. 3 May
2007 <>.
"Caribbean Family Structures." Marriage and Family Encyclopedia. 2007. Net Industries.
22 May 2007 <>.
“Caribbean Islanders, Diet of.” Gale Virtual Reference Library. Thomson Gale. Upper
Merion Area High School Lib. 4 May 2007 <>.
"Dominican Republic: Architecture." Greenwood Daily Life Online. 2007. Greenwood
Publishing Group. 11 May 2007 <>.
“Dominican Republic: Contemporary Architecture.” Greenwood Daily Life Online.
2007. Greenwood Publishing Group. 12 May 2007>.
“Dominican Republic: Painting and Sculpture.” Greenwood Daily Life Online. 2007.
Greenwood Publishing Group. 12 May 2007

Foley, Erin. Cultures of the World: Dominican Republic. Cultures of the World. New
York: Marshall Cavendish Benchmark, 2006.
“Food Culture in the Caribbean – Religion.” Daily Life Through History. Greenwood
Publishing Group. 6 May 2007.
“Into the Mix.” Caribbean Guide. 2006. Segisys. 11 May 2007 <http://caribbean>.
Levy, Patricia. “Cultures of the Woarld: Puerto Rico”. Cultures of the World.
New York: Marshall Cavendish, 2006.
Postcards from Domincan Republic. Travelistic Videos for Travelers, 2006. Travelistic. 5
Oct. 2006.
24 May 2007 <
Sheehan, Sean. “Cultures of the World: Cuba”. Cultures of the World. New York:
Marshall Cavendish, 2006.
Sheehan, Sean. “History, Jamaicans, Economy, Lifestyle, Religion, Language,
Festivals.” Jamaica. Cultures of the World. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish, 1988. 21-105.
“World Culutures Today.” The Geenwood Encyclopedia. Daily Life Through History.
Greenwood Publishing Group. 5 May 2007>.

period 3 lesson plan:
Caribbean culture

Lesson plan for Amanda and Irem- period 3

Students will be able to:
1. Summarize how the other countries have affected the culture of the Caribbean.
2. List a few reasons how slavery has affected the culture of the Caribbean today.
3. Describe how the Caribbean health and education has been effected by modernization

Essential Questions

  1. How has the Caribbean’s culture been affected by foreign involvement through the years?
--Although English is not the official language, the amount of tourism in the Caribbean greatly contributes to the popularity of the language. This also has to do with the history of the Caribbean, which involved a British Colonial background. Most of the literary influence has come from African countries, but Europeans have helped modernize their writing styles. Furthermore, British and other foreign involvement through the years has integrated and popularized many religions including Christianity; these new ideas and the responses to them have created even more permutations of belief.

  1. How has slavery changed native Caribbean culture over the years?
--There are many connections between Caribbean and African culture. Religious similarities can be seen, such as the practicing of Animism, the worship of the animal way and nature which originated in Africa. Another is literature and the practice of storytelling. Music and dance shows many connections as well.

  1. How has modernization affected the health and education of the people in the Caribbean?
--People have grown more and more unhealthy. This is due to new fast-food restaurants. More people are eating fast food which is high in fat, sugar, and salt. This is one of the main causes of many chronic diseases in the Caribbean. There has also been less consumption of cereals, grains, fruits, and vegetables. Processed foods have also become popular which cause harm to people’s bodies. The first college was established in 1538. Today, there are over twelve universities in the West Indies. There are also many libraries, an educational TV channel, and graduate schools for learning about medicine.

1. Play Caribbean movie while students get up macbooks and log on – 2 minutes
2. Using the smartboard, brainstorm what the students know about the culture of the Caribbean (this can include both stereotypes and facts). This list will be minimized until the end of the presentation - 5 minutes
3. Present Amanda’s slides on food and education- 3 minutes
4. Go over the answers to the crossword and connect them to how modernization has affected Caribbean culture- 5 minutes
5. Go over Irem’s slides on – 3 mintues
6. Play Irem’s video on (stop in the middle of the video) – 5 minutes
7. Go over Regina’s slides on Religion and Holidays – 3 minutes
8. Discuss as a class the beliefs for each major religion – 5 minutes
9. Tell the class to discuss with the people around them how these beliefs would affect the daily life in the Caribbean- 5 minutes
10. Come together as a class and discuss the ideas the students came up with- 5 minutes
11. Present Gigi’s slides on people and society – 5 minutes
12. Hand out the Caribbean lifestyle paper and ask explain that the students should match up the lifestyle traits with the different backgrounds on the powerpoint - 2 mintues
13. Present the powerpoint about family structures– 5 minutes
14. Go over the paper and have the students raise their hands to answer which lifestyle trait goes with which background- 5 minutes
15. Ask students to get out a sheet of loose leaf paper and list three things they learned about the essential questions that are on the wikispace for period three, two things they two opinions on the presentation, and one stereotype that was disproved in the presentation. The brainstorming at the beginning of the lesson should be brought up, so the students can see what they originally thought- however much time is left

  • Smart board and pens
  • Mac book
  • Power point
  • Gigi’s Caribbean lifestyle handout

· 321 activity at the end of the lesson (see number 15 in the lesson plan)