Glossary of Traditional Caribbean Craft Materials

Caribbean artisans have used similar natural resources in fashioning traditional crafts and preparing local foods. Yet these materials are often known by different names throughout the region.

Scroll through this glossary or use the search box at right to find out more about regional craft materials and recipe ingredients. You can filter the glossary by the first letter of the term using the alphabet below. To reset the alphabet filter, click “All” to the right.

Term
Coral-stone
Synonym
Country
Barbados
Definition

Quarried limestone coral, cut into blocks about 2ftx1ftx1ft, used for building the outer walls of houses

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Term
Crab-eye
(Abrus precatorius)
Barbados, Guyana, St. Kitts
Synonym
Country
Buck bead
Guyana
John-Crow bead
Belize, Jamaica
Jumbie bead seed
Nevis
Definition

The hard, glossy, red seed with a black spot…the seed is widely used in handicraft and jewellery-making

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Term
Crop Over
Synonym
Country
Barbados
Definition

“The sweetest summer festival…more than a Carnival” Barbados’ major festival to celebrate the end of the sugarcane season. Costume bands, creative activity in abundance and much festivities mark this month-long celebration.

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Term
Djab-djab
Synonym
Country
Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, Tobago, Trinidad
Definition

A traditional costumed figure of Carnival, portraying the devil

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Term
Dooflicky
Synonym
Country
Barbados
Definition

Any organised event during a folk festival season such as Crop-Over.

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Term
Emancipation Day
Synonym
Country
August-Holiday
Montserrat, Nevis, St. Kitts, St. Vincent
August-Monday
Dominica
Carnival Monday
Antigua, Barbuda
Definition

A public holiday, on the first day, or often the first Monday in August to mark the anniversary of the abolition of slavery as from 1st August 1834.

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Term
Horse-nickers
Barbados, Grenada
Synonym
Country
Chuckle-rock
Montserrat
Donkey-eye
Grenada, Tobago, Trinidad
Kach-Kach
Dominica
Knuckle seed
Nevis
Nickel, Nickle
Bahamas, Jamaica, Montserrat, Nevis
Definition

A hard, roundish, dark-grey (or brown, or yellow) seed about ¾ of an inch in diameter, borne one or two in a very prickly pod.
Used in jewellery-making, as marbles or as game pieces in Warri.

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Term
Jippi-jappa
(Carludovica palmata)
Synonym
Country
Belize, Jamaica
Definition

A beige fine-textured straw, the fibre of the long, palm-like leaf blades of a flowering tropical American shrub; it is used for delicate straw-work especially patterned hats.

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Term
Junkanoo
Synonym
Country
Jankunu, John Canoe, John Connu
Bahamas, Belize, Jamaica
Definition

The leading male street masquerader of a troupe; his costume comprises an elaborate head-dress and a tinselled or jingling, multi-coloured outfit. The Junkanoo festival is one of street dancing and parading largely at the Christmas season.

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Term
Kadooment
Synonym
Country
Barbados
Definition

The parade of competing, costumed bands to culminate the Crop Over festival.

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