Elegant hotels offers top tips for Barbados' Crop Over
Upmarket Barbados hotel chain Elegant Hotels has published a guide to enjoying the island's annual summer carnival - Crop Over - in Bajan style, with top tips on the best events, parades, street parties and concerts.
Elegant Hotels, which runs several resorts in Barbados, has published a guide to surviving the island’s biggest festival – Crop Over – like a local. Taking place every summer with its finale in August, the hotel’s advice is intended to help travellers enjoy the festival’s best events in Bajan style.
Known as the ‘sweetest summer festival’, Crop Over officially starts in June with the ceremonial delivery of the last sugar cane crop, and continues for 12 weeks with a long roster of events that includes traditional J'ouvert paint parties, the ‘Pic-O-De-Crop’ calypso dance contest, steel pan concerts on the beach, parades and street fairs.
The festival dates back to the 1780s when Barbados was one of the world’s biggest sugar cane producers. At the end of the harvest, when the ‘crop was over’, plantation workers would celebrate with a big party that included a ceremony honouring the most productive cane-cutters of the season.
Crop Over culminates on the first monday of August with Grand Kadooment, where revellers dressed in colourful costumes parade through the streets to calypso music. The last weekend of the festivities also includes the Foreday Morning Jam, when party-goers covered in paint and mud join a procession that lasts from the early hours of the morning until sunrise.
For the most authentic experience, the Elegant Hotels guide advises going to a wet fete, where you can dance and get soaked by water spray with the rest of the crowd. It is also recommends tucking into local food and indulging in rum cocktails, visiting Bridgetown Market street fair and taking your family to the kids’ Kadooment parade.
Elegant Hotels Group owns and operates five resorts on the Caribbean island of Barbados, including The House, Colony Club and Tamarind, as well as the all-inclusive Crystal Cove Hotel and Turtle Beach Resort. The group also includes the acclaimed Daphne's restaurant on Barbados' west coast – sister to Daphne's restaurant in London.
For travellers lucky enough to be in Barbados during Crop Over, here are Elegant Hotels’ top tips on how to enjoy an authentic Crop Over experience like a local:
Attend a Fete
As the host of one of the biggest and best carnival festivals around, it's no surprise that Bajans know how to party. With a host of all-inclusive breakfast parties, which begin at 3am and go on well until 10am, 'wet fetes', booze cruises and beach jams, you won't be left wanting.
Elegant Top Tip: Our concierge team can recommend the hottest parties of the season and help to arrange ticket purchases and transportation to the events.
Try Some Local Food
With all of the partying you're sure to enjoy, make sure you fuel your body with some delicious Bajan food and drink. Indulge in the local fare with a typical Bajan dish such as macaroni pie, flying fish and salad or, for something lighter, try a Flying Fish Cutter or fish cakes. Of course, no trip to Barbados is complete without a glass of rum punch or a Banks beer.
Elegant Top Tip: Guests can eat and drink like a local at Colony Club's Market Night, an informal, family friendly dinner, which features local eats and beverages, karaoke, face painting and games.
You can't get through Crop Over without moving your hips to the season's hottest calypso tunes. “Wukking up”, as it is known in Barbados, is all about moving your hips to the sound of sweet soca music. Enjoy the infectious up-tempo songs, which are played constantly throughout the season. Before you know it, you'll be wining and wuking with the best of them!
Elegant Top Tip: Turtle Beach hosts calypso lessons, which provide instruction on local dance moves including wukking up, jumping, prancing and more.
Visit Bridgetown Market
Bridgetown Market is a spectacular three-day street fair usually held on the last weekend of the season. It is a melting pot of Bajan culture, featuring local entertainment, traditional Bajan folk characters, handmade arts and crafts, local delicacies and beverages and more.
Elegant Top Tip: Guests can sign up with Tamarind's Flying Fish Kids Club for a first hand experience of Bridgetown Market.
The Foreday Morning Jam (also known as J'ouvert) is an experience like no other. This night-time street party is a prelude to the 'big jump' and is one of the most highly anticipated events of the entire season. If you're not covered in paint, mud or powder by sunrise, you haven't done Foreday the right way.
Elegant Top Tip: There are a number of different organised Foreday bands, which offer full packages including food, drinks, music and security. Our concierge team can recommend suitable options.
Mega Monday, Jump Up Day or Grand Kadooment, whichever you choose to call it, Kadooment Day is the ultimate end to the Crop Over festivities. Held on the first Monday of August, Kadooment celebrations see the streets of Barbados overtaken by revellers who are adorned in colourful feathered and bejeweled costumes. If you're lucky you may even spot celebrities, with Barbados-born Rihanna usually a part of the celebrations.
With music trucks keeping the calypso music pumping and drink trucks keeping the rum flowing, locals and tourists alike jump, dance and 'chip' from the National Stadium to Spring Garden Highway, bringing a spectacular end to the sweetest summer festival.
Elegant Top Tip: Colony Club and Turtle Beach will be bringing family friendly elements of Kadooment and Crop Over to their guests. The resorts' celebrations include stilt walkers, carnival costumes, dance performances, calypso music and local Barbadian delicacies and street-foods such as sno-cones and succulent fish cakes.
Watch Kiddies Kadooment
Children are not left out of the season's festivities, as they have a fun event all their own. The Junior Kadooment Parade, more commonly known as Kiddies Kadooment, provides children the opportunity to hit the streets in grand style. They parade across the National Stadium showcasing the colourful and creative costumes designed by talented Barbadian junior band leaders.
Elegant Top Tip: Guests of Crystal Cove can enjoy a Kadooment Family Fun Fair, which will feature a live parade by a local Kiddies Kadooment band. At Turtle Beach and Tamarind, children will enjoy making their own costumes to proudly showcase at the hotels' kids parade.
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