The crown jewel of Barbados’ cultural calendar, Crop Over is a celebration of Barbadian tradition and serves as an important reminder of the past.
Chosen for: Preserving Culture.
Running from 7th August, Crop Over is a celebration of Bajan culture, fuelled by sun, sea and soca. With roots reaching back to the 1780s when Barbados was the world’s largest exporter of sugar under British colonisation, Crop Over traditionally marked the end of the sugar cane harvest. Enslaved men and women – mostly African people and convicts from the British isles – would honour their hard labour with song and dance. The tradition faded as sugar cane exports declined after World War II, but was revived in the 70s and has grown to become a regional highlight, with much of the Bajan diaspora returning to the island to party.
The Crop Over schedule is packed with fetes (essentially, carnival parties) from day to night: breakfast fetes that kick off at around 6am, boat parties and cooler fetes (bring your own booze, in coolers). The street carnival and parade Grand Kadooment Day rounds off six weeks of celebration, where thousands of locals and visitors hit the road dressed in glittering garb. Expect a sea of masquerade bands and sequinned bodies wukking up through the streets of Barbados to a backdrop of calypso and soca blaring from sound systems.
Crop Over recalls the island’s colonial past, allowing the local community to reclaim a painful part of their history. Having become a republic in 2021, that patriotism and pride takes on a whole new meaning. The culture and community is what makes Crop Over one of our favourite carnivals. Jump through Bridgetown, sip on Mount Gay rum and tuck into a grilled fish cutter between the beats.
Crop Over runs from 7 August 2023.