Kate Lasalle’s backyard in Trinidad, 1978
Sundown drinks in Kate Lasalle’s backyard in Trinidad, 1978.
Source: Museum Victoria Caribbean Community Photographic Collection

Relaxed and informal hospitality is an important part of West Indian culture.It is normal for visitors to drop in unannounced and be welcomed with an enthusiastic ‘Come in, man!’ Food and drink are always offered during these spontaneous visits.

A feature of daily life in the Caribbean is liming (pronounced limin’) when a group of people get together informally and share conversation, jokes and laughter,often for hours at a time. This is also called bussin’ a lime.

A popular pastime at any time of day or night, liming is usually accompanied by drinks (such as local rum or beer) and tasty tidbits, known as cutters. Liming takes place anywhere: at home in kitchens or on verandahs, in sports clubs, in ‘rumshops’ or just sitting around outdoors and on street corners.

When Caribbean people migrate to places like Melbourne, the faster pace of life, colder climate and longer travelling distances all combine to make such informal get-togethers more difficult. West Indian migrants maintain this vital aspect of their culture in new ways by organising frequent parties, cultural picnics and events such as the annual Australia Day ‘Cricket Lime’ in Victoria.

Image Gallery

Liming in a Trinidad kitchen, 1987 Friends and family in Upwey, 1979 The ‘whole lime’, Yarra Junction, 1988