Bahamian Folklore

Bahamian Folklore is varied and diverse. Many of our folklores are unique to each of our Islands.

Andros Folklore

Chickcharney

  • Mythical animal that was said to roam in the deep underbrush of Andros island. These are impish,mischievous, red-eyed, feathered creatures with three toes and three fingers and a long, prehensile tail. Some say chickcharnies have the ability to turn their heads completely around. They are said to live in the pine and hardwood forests of Andros and are not found on any of the other islands. You can search the pine forests of the island and if you see two pine trees joined together at the top, that is said to be the nest of the chickcharney
  • If a wanderer happens upon a chickcharney and treats it well, then blessings and good fortune follow. However, if the chickcharney is mistreated or laughed at, the wanderer can be struck by misery, which can last a lifetime.
  • Neville Chamberlain the former British Prime Minister is said to have been a victim of the chickcharnies. Sent at the age of 21 to manage his father’s sisal plantation in Mastic Point, he is reputed to have scoffed at the chickchrney legend. The plantation failed, Chamberlain returned to Britain and became Prime Minister, he later met with Adolph Hitler in an attempt to maintain “peace in our time” but the result was World War II.

Lusca

Lusca is half-shark, half-octopus or half-dragon, half-octopus, depending on who you talk to. She lurks deep among the waters of the blue holes and inland caverns that are found throughout Andros.

Along with mermaids and other legendary creatures, she feeds on marine debris containing plankton and other small creatures that are brought in with the tidal currents. Local legend holds that the tidal currents of the inland blue holes are none other than the breath of Lusca. As she breathes in, water pours in strongly enough in some caverns to form a whirlpool, and when she exhales, cold, clear water boils to the surface.

Legend has it that any encounter with this extraordinary beast almost always results in the death of whoever was unfortunate enough to wander too close to its watery lair. This extends not only to intrepid divers who have dared to brave the labyrinthine depths of the blue holes, but also to those unwary souls who stand too close to the shoreline, as the Lusca has been known to use its tentacles to drag even earthbound victims to their watery graves.Onlookers have even described seeing fishermens’ boats suddenly being yanked below the surface of the blue holes, only to watch in horror as the indigestible flotsam of these broken vessels slowly raises to the surface, their captains no where to be seen.

The unique, underground waterworlds of Bahamian blue holes I. Introduction Imagine a beautiful moonlit night. You’re standing on a Bahamian beach watching the ocean waves. A mermaid appears on the beach and asks you a fateful question. You know that if you answer the question correctly, you’ll win a visit to her underwater crystal palace in a blue hole cave, a lock of her hair, and good fortune throughout your life. But, if you answer incorrectly, your trip will be one way, pulled down into the gaping mouth of a blue hole, perhaps to feed “Lusca” (Palmer, 1986).

This is a Bahamian folk tale created from the mysteriousness of the Bahamas’ blue holes, the underwater caverns that weave through the limestone banks of the Bahamas. In this presentation, I will discuss: · the folk tale of “Lusca,” · when and how the blue holes formed, · the exploration of blue holes, and finally · the flora and fauna that make their homes in Bahamian blue holes.

Bahamian Proverbs

  1. Hog know where to rub he skin”:

A biggedy/bossy person who knows exactly who they can and cannot bully.

  1. Fattening frog for snake”:

Taking care of a woman only for a next man to enjoy her

  1. Don’t let your mout (mouth) carry you where your foot can’t bring you back from”:

Be careful what you say because you might regret it.

  1. If you spit in the wind it gon come back in your face“:

It’s like Karma...if you do somethign to someone, it will eventually come back to you.

  1. Where you catch your cold you blow your nose“:

Where ever you get in problems go back there.

  1. Where ever you make your bed, your gonna lay in it
  1. If you play with puppy he gon’ lick your mouth“:

If you play with someone who aint your company and they talk back to you any kinda way, its your fault.

  1. Fisherman don’t smell he own basket“:

You could never see your own wrong doings.

  1. You could see who on the ship what dock afar, but the one what dock ashore you can’t see who on it“:

One can se the flaws of others but never their own.

  1. Sweep in front your own door before you sweep someone else’s“:

Take care of your own problems before your try fix someones else’s...in other words “mind your own business.

  1. What sweeten your mouth gonna bitter your tail“:

Your laughin now, you gone be cryin later.

  1. If you lay with dogs you gon’ catch flees

Watch the friends you keep.

External web Links

Bahamian Legends The Islands Of The Bahamas, rich in history and tradition, has its share of legends and folklore. Early inhabitants brought some of these beliefs with them when they settled on the islands. Other myths sprang from natural phenomena found in the environment. Whatever their origin, these legends are part of the charm of The Islands Of The Bahamas. http://www.bahamasgateway.com/legends.htm

Bush Medicine Bahamians have used indigenous plants for medicinal purposes for hundreds of years. This tradition, called “bush medicine,” was brought to the Bahamas by African slaves and gained importance in the out islands where doctors were rarely available.. http://www.bahamasgateway.com/bahamas_bush_medicine.htm

Exuma the obeah man He was a spirit who came from a planet, now extinct, brought to us on a lightning bolt, who had communed with Charon, the ferryman of the River Styx and Vodun priests. When he informed the world of his travels and even warned of Armageddon, he left the Earth, perhaps tiring of the corporeal and moving to the ethereal. He was born McFarlane Anthony McKay on Cat Island in the Bahamas in the early 1940’s. He then relocated to New York, to study architecture at the age of 17. He ran out of money for his studies and in 1962, participated in folk music hootenannies. Gaining confidence, he started a group called Tony McKay and the Islanders. He also was in a show called A Little of This ‘n’ That in 1965, along with Richie Havens. ...http://www.furious.com/PERFECT/exuma.html

The island is also very known in Bahamas for the Obeah or Obi culture that is some kind of a middle form of white witchcraft or voodoo. Nowadays locals living derive especially from farming,the traditional slash-and-burn farming method.Cascarilla bark is gathered and shipped to Italy, where it is a main ingredient in medicines, scents, and the italian aperitif called Campari.Another income could be , but a lower point the deep see fishing industry. http://www.bahamas-onweb.com/bahamas-islands/bahamas-cat-island.php

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