Gullah Fun Facts
- Gullah (GULL uh) is an English-based creole consisting of West African languages, English, & English Caribbean vernacular.
- Enslaved West Africans were not allowed to learn English formally. Although they were literate in their native languages, Charlestowne was an English colony; therefore, English was the lingua franca or common language spoken.
- Gullah is an oral language, so whenever it’s written, it’s the author’s interpretation. Gullah is usually written phonetically, but if it’s written in English, the pronunciation & pace provide the language’s rhythm & flow.
- Today, Geechee (GHEE cheah) refers to African American natives of the four-state area described below.
- Gullah Geechee is a term popularly used today to describe the language, people, traditions & lifeways like foodways, Spiritual customs, occupational & household practices & settlement patterns, for example, that have been passed down through the generations throughout the southeast US coast.
- The Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor (GGCHC) was designated by Congress in 2006, & the Corridor was then designated as a National Heritage Area (NHA). The corridor extends from southern coastal NC through coastal SC & GA into north coastal FL & St.Augustine, then extends inland about thirty miles. Read more at: http://www.
gullahgeecheecorridor.org/?& http://www.nps. Itemid=102 gov/heritageareas/FAQ/.
These are common perceptions, BUT THEY ARE NOT TRUE!!
- Gullah Geechee people live in remote & secluded communities where visitors can go to observe & interact with residents.
- Gullah Geechee people live on an island(s) only reachable by boat.
- Gullah Geechee people’s day-to-day include living & performing tasks like people “did during slavery time”.
- Gullah Island is located in the Charleston area.
- Visitors can go to a place named Gullah.
- Gullah Geechee people are short & dark-skinned.
- Gullah Geechee people are uneducated & speak broken English.
- Gullah Geechee people like to eat rice sandwiches.
- Gullah Geechee people practice magic.
- Gullah Geechee people only live along the SC & GA coasts & nowhere else in the US or abroad.
- All South Carolinians & all Georgians are Gullah Geechee.
- Gullah Geechee people are from Jamaica.
- Gullah Geechee people will quickly cut or stab a person if they are angered.
Some Gullah Geechee Traditions & Lifeways
- Breakfast must include grits, & dinner must include rice.
- When eating crabs, you mustn’t eat the “dead man” (lungs) or you’ll get very sick.
- A popular one-pot meal is called a “perlo”. It’s a combo of rice with meat & often vegetables. Shrimp perlo, okra perlo & chicken perlo are favorites.
- Fried fish & Red Rice are a popular Friday meal. Red Rice is white rice cooked with tomatoes or tomato sauce and traditionally seasoned with green (bell) peppers, onion & pork (often bacon and/or sausage.)
Spiritual & Funerary Customs:
- Pass an infant over the casket of a family member at the gravesite so that the deceased’s Spirit does not haunt the child.
- Adult females must wear a hat to church, or other head covering, because the tops of their heads should be covered while in the Sanctuary.
- After leaving the Funeral, the procession should pass by the home of the deceased en route to the burial so that the deceased’s Spirit doesn’t return to the house.
- Trimming the windows & painting the doors on one’s house a particular shade of blue keeps away harmful spirits.
- After grooming, any hair left in the comb or brush must be burned or flushed down the commode so that birds or people with harmful intentions don’t get a hold of it.
- Put some Spanish Moss in your shoes to help keep your blood pressure down.
- If a bird gets in your house, someone will die soon.
- If a female keeps her purse on the floor, she’ll never have any money.
Here’s a glimpse at Gullah, & remember, everyone writes it his/her own way since it’s an oral language:
Cum an visit Charleston fa memory datll las a lifetime! We toe bus, carage, museum, beach, goff cose, restrant, bars, sto an so much mo jes a waitin fa unna. Hope ta see unna real soon ya?
English Translation: Come and visit Charleston for memories that’ll last a lifetime! Our tour buses, carriages, museums, beaches, golf courses, restaurants, bars, stores and so much more await you. Hope to see you really soon, ok?