Crop Over - Barbados Soul
Duration: Half Day
Watch Barbados' culture come to life during the island’s famous Crop Over Festival, a vibrant annual carnival that celebrates the end of the local sugar cane harvest through art, music and dance. Taking place in Bridgetown during the summer months, this colourful event lasts for around five weeks and attracts thousands of visitors from all over the world. Not to be missed during your holiday in Barbados, this is a Caribbean festival unlike any other.
The Crop Over Festival’s origins can be traced back to the late 18th century when Barbados was the world's largest producer of sugar. At the end of the sugar cane season, a huge celebration took place to mark the culmination of a successful sugar cane harvest and the end of the gruelling field-work, which became known as the ‘Crop Over’ celebration. Over the years, this fun-filled Barbadian folk festival has increased dramatically in size and popularity, and is now regarded as one of the biggest cultural events in the Caribbean.
There are plenty of exciting events to interest both adults and children, but the festivities mainly centre around local food, music and dance. Through this, visitors can gain an insight into Barbadian culture, which is a unique blend of West African heritage and British cultural traditions. Over time, the festival has become a fusion of the old and modern elements of Barbadian culture, which makes it even more exciting to watch. Soak up the party atmosphere as thousands of revellers fill the streets dressed in elaborate, brightly-coloured costumes, dancing energetically behind trucks playing steel-pan and calypso music.
Calypso is a large part of the festival, and competitions take place daily to judge performances on commentary and choice of songs. You won’t be able to stop yourself getting caught up in all the fun. Other festival highlights include folk concerts, art and photo exhibitions, market stalls, rum making, live bands and much more besides. Barbadians certainly know how to throw a party.
When the festivities subside, make your way downtown to see the impressive St. Michael's Cathedral. This beautiful coral-stoned structure was erected in 1786 after previous structures were destroyed by hurricanes. The graveyard is the resting place of several important Barbadians. Across the road you can visit National Heroes Square, where you will see an early 19th century statue of Lord Horatio Nelson and a memorial to the Barbadians killed in the two World Wars, as well as a fountain that commemorates the first piped water in Bridgetown.
Many other historic landmarks can be viewed throughout the capital, so take time to explore the city at your leisure so you don’t miss a thing.
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