The time has come for a 200-year-old tradition in Barbados to be upheld. This special tradition, called Crop Over, will be celebrated for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic began in 2020.
What is Crop Over, you may ask? It is Barbados’ main national event— when tribute is paid to the end of the harvesting season and all the hard work that goes into growing crops and raising livestock.
The Crop Over festival is typically held for three exciting months and celebrates all aspects of Barbadian culture, from parties and concerts to arts and craft exhibitions and street fairs.
The History of Crop Over
The Crop Over festival reflects a time (around the 1680s) when Barbados was the world’s largest producer of sugarcane. Initially referred to as “Harvest Home”, this festival comprised many celebratory activities, including a parade with well-known characters, such as the Shaggy Bear, Mother Sally and Stilt Men.
People would celebrate with dancing and music and sing witty songs accompanied by shak-shaks, banjos, triangles and other rhythmic instruments. The festivities would be complete with the burning of Mr Harding, a 20-foot effigy made of straw which symbolized the “Hard Times” expected between the sugar crop seasons.
The festival was celebrated for generations before its termination in the 1940s due to a decline in the sugar industry. It was then revived in the 1970s and incorporated many additional aspects of Barbadian culture.
Over time, the festival has evolved significantly, with tourists and international celebrities visiting the island to partake in this grand celebration.
The Grand Kadooment is the climax of the Crop Over festival and generates the most energy and excitement. On this day, revellers make their way through the streets to The Mighty Gryner Highway (formerly the Spring Garden Highway) in colourful costumes decorated with feathers, jewels and sequins. The party continues well into the night with more dancing, music, food and fireworks.
What’s In Store For The 2022 Crop Over Festival?
In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, many social activities were halted. Now the restrictions have been eased, and the celebrations have begun again!
So what is happening this Crop Over Season? To commence the Crop Over activities, an Opening Ceremony and Gala took place in June, as well as other minor events.
The month of July starts the core activities, such as the Junior Monarch and Pic-O-De-Crop Calypso (Caribbean genre of music) competitions.
The local parties, also known as “fetes”, also begin around this time, with live performances from famous local and international artists. Of course, although the restrictions have been eased, there will still be protocols to ensure all attendees’ safety and protection.
Unfortunately, there will be no Junior Kadooment this year. This event usually allows children and teenagers the opportunity to parade in their most colourful and creative costumes created by local designers.
As in previous years, there will also be a Foreday Morning party on the Saturday before the main event, Grand Kadooment, which will be held on August 1st and conclude the Crop Over celebrations.
Grand Kadooment will start early in the morning and continue throughout the night.
However, to ensure protocols are maintained, these activities are expected to have a limited number of participating bands, almost half the number showcased in 2019.
Crop Over is a beautiful occasion that should be experienced by locals and visitors at least once in their lifetime. From the stunning costumes on display to the infectious songs and dances, the Barbadian culture is brought to life for all to enjoy. If you are on the island during this time of year, this is an experience you wouldn’t want to miss!
The information contained above is provided for information purposes only. The contents of this blog post are not intended to amount to advice, and you should not rely on any of the contents of this post. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from taking any action as a result of the contents of this post. Residence Barbados disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this newsletter.
Top image: Where To Stay