In Barbados, celebrating carnivals is part of their way of life, and in fact, the country has a 3-month long event just for one festival! There are many things that Barbados can offer to its tourists, great beaches, calm waters, relaxing coastal views. But one thing is for sure; their festivals will keep you from going again and again in the country.
Is Carnival Celebrated in Barbados?
Yes! You will likely visit Barbados when they celebrate their festivals. You get to have the chance to feel how festive the country is, and you get to enjoy both blooming events during the day and the exciting events in their nightlife.
What Is Carnival Called in Barbados?
Barbados Carnival is called Crop Over or Crop Over Festival. The Crop Over is the most celebrated event in Barbados. It is a festival showcasing the country’s culture, music, traditions, and the Barbadians’ way of life. This summer event has attracted a lot of tourists around the world because it is one of the longest festivals in the Caribbean, three months to be exact.
What Is Crop Over in Barbados?
Crop Over is an annual cultural festival held in Barbados, which celebrates its agricultural and artistic heritage. It honors the 50th anniversary of Barbadian Independence from Britain in 1966 by celebrating its cultural diversity through music, dance, art, cuisine, and other activities.
The concept of the Crop Over festival dates to the 1700s when Barbados was considered the largest sugar producer worldwide because of the influx of British businessmen who exported the product. Barbadians, the term for the people of Barbados, tend to celebrate every end of their sugar harvest season. They marked this end as the culmination of a very bountiful harvest, hence named Crop Over.
When Is Barbados Carnival?
The Crop Over festival starts in late May, or at the start of June, a few weeks before the summer begins. The festival commences with an Opening Gala followed by the Ceremonial Delivery of the Last Canes, commemorating the rich history of the sugar industry in the islands. In this event, the King and Queen of the Sugar Can Crop will be crowned based on how they have presented their ‘cane cutting’ performances.
If you are planning to visit Barbados and experience the Crop Over, be sure to have booked your flights before the celebration starts because many tourists will be reserving flights and hotel rooms. It is a must to witness the start of the Crop Over until its closing to feel the growing festive vibe of the event.
Where Is Barbados Carnival Held?
Barbadians celebrate Crop Over nationwide, but its capital, Bridgetown, holds most of the events in the festival. You can find their main market, the Bridgetown Market, which Barbadians consider the largest carnival fair!
- Bridgetown Market
It is a must that you will visit the Bridgetown Market because colorful kiosks and stalls fill the entire Spring Garden Highway. The stalls in the Bridgetown market sell different kinds of food and dishes and buy many products, souvenirs, and tokens made locally. Barbadian clothes, wares, toys, crafts, name it, and they have it.
- Calypso Tents
You can also check out their local Calypso Tents in the capital. Calypso music is an Afro-Caribbean style of music that started from Trinidad and Tobago, a Caribbean country 207 miles (333 kilometers) away from Barbados.
You get to enjoy listening to Calypsonians around Bridgetown and even outside the capital. There are competitions such as the Pic-O-De-Crop, which features various Calypsonian artists from various tents in the Crop Over festival.
There are a lot of activities that you can enjoy as you walk around Bridgetown, especially at night. You will feel the lively nightlife of Barbados in its markets, stalls, bands, performers, and even from the smiles of the Barbadians enjoying the event. It will really be a wonderful experience for you in your Crop Festival vacation.
How Long Does the Crop Over Festival Last in Barbados?
You can enjoy the Crop Over Festival for three long months! Exciting, right? You can enjoy every event at the festival because you have all the time you need to celebrate together with the Barbadians.
After attending the Opening Gala, there are many activities in between that you can enjoy, so take note of this list and decide which event to go to before the Crop Over’s grand finale, the Kadooment Day.
Aside from the food and products you can enjoy at the Bridgetown Market, you can also watch the Cohobblopot. Cohobblopot is now a cooking show, a stage show featuring a combination of all the festive activities in the Crop Over. Lively Caribbean music, cultural dance performances, parades, and many more.
- Fore Day Morning Jump
After you witness the Pic-O-De-Crop, there is also another event called the ForeDay Morning Jump. In this event, you will participate together with an estimated 20,000 people preparing to kick it off as early as 1:00 in the morning. Thousands of participants parade together wearing simpler costumes because you are about to get covered in paint while marching and dancing in a parade route.
The event ends as soon as the sun rises, and you can dance along with other Barbadians getting wet from a water hose at the Oval. The Fore Day Monday Parade is one of the most exciting events in the carnival!
- The Grand Kadooment Day
The Crop Over ends with a grand finale called “The Grand Kadooment Day,” which happens in early August. The Grand Kadooment Day is the happiest day in the Barbadian calendar, where the streets of Bridgetown are occupied with cheerful crowds, loud bands, and festive music.
During the Grand Kadooment, there are Mas Bands that play various kinds of music while wearing different types of costumes which you can participate in. You get to choose the bands you wish to be part of, so better decide weeks before the Grand Finale!
When Did Barbados Carnival Start?
Considered to be one of the oldest celebrations in the western hemisphere, the Crop Over Festival started in 1687 when Barbados was known to have vast sugar cane plantations. The Crop Over’s purpose was to celebrate the end of a successful sugar cane crop harvest.
The original way of celebrating the festival was to put the last of the season crop to a mill yard and decorate it with an array of flowers. A woman dressed in white will dance and walk together with several sugar cane workers carrying the last harvest. The parade’s route is around the mill yard and crowds would come together singing and dancing.
However, this festival was stopped in the 1940s but was eventually brought back in 1974, making it livelier. Aside from celebrating a successful sugar harvest, they have included showcasing Barbadian traditions and culture, its arts and music, which attracted tourists across the globe. People from different walks of life have the chance to feel how Barbadians celebrate a bountiful harvest and share their culture with everyone.
Does Barbados Celebrate July 4th?
If you refer to the 4th of July celebrated in the United States, then, unfortunately, Barbados does not celebrate on that date. The country’s Independence Day happens to fall on the 30th of November. But come to think of it, if you want to spend your 4th of July in Barbados, that is one of the best dates to visit since you are still in the middle of the Crop Festival!