Carnival History (Thanks, barbados.org!)
The Crop Over summer festival is Barbados' most popular and colourful festival. Its origins can be traced back to the 1780's, a time when Barbados was the world's largest producer of sugar.
At the end of the sugar season, there was always a huge celebration to mark the culmination of another successful sugar cane harvest - the Crop Over celebration.
As the sugar industry in Barbados declined, so too did the Crop Over festival and in the 1940's the festival was terminated completely. However, the festival was revived in 1974 and other elements of Barbadian culture were infused to create the extravaganza that exists today ..... an event that attracts thousands of people from across the globe.
Crop Over events & activities
The festival begins with the Opening Gala and Ceremonial Delivery of the Last Canes and the crowning of the King and Queen of the Festival - the most productive male and female cane cutters of the season.
Bridgetown Market consists of many stalls selling food and beverages as well as local arts and crafts. Enjoy the calypso and soca music and the live entertainment as you browse through the stalls.
Cohobblopot is a huge carnival-like show with members of the Kadooment bands displaying their elaborate and stunning costumes. There is also a huge entertainment package with the most popular calypsonians and bands performing to packed audiences.
The children are not left out as they can participate in the Kiddies Kadooment, donning beautiful costumes and joining their friends in a band to parade before the judges of the competition.
Folk concerts and art & photographic exhibitions are integral parts of the festival, highlighting Barbadian history and culture as well as the artistic talents of Bajans.
Calypso is one of the main features of the Crop Over festival. The calypsonians are organised into "tents" and these tents are sponsored by Barbados businesses. Calypsonians compete for several prizes and titles, including Party Monarch, Sweet Soca Monarch, Road March Monarch and Pic-O-De-Crop Monarch. The Party Monarch and more recently the Sweet Soca competition are among the festival's most popular events! The final of the Pic-O-De-Crop competition is held at Kensington Oval, and this is followed by the Fore-Day Morning Jump-Up!
The finale of the festival is the Grand Kadooment! This carnival parade features large bands with members dressed in elaborate costumes to depict various themes. Designers compete for the coveted Designer of the Year prize while the revelers seem more intent on having a good time! The revelers make their way to Spring Garden accompanied by the pulsating rythym of calypso music. When they reach Spring Garden, the party continues with more fantastic music, lots of food and drink and, for some, a quick swim at the nearby beach. A grand end to a grand festival.