Waists winding and “wukkin’ up” in unison to a sweet symphony of soca, cups of rum punch held high during a beach fete, bodies covered in paint and a sore legs the next morning …. welcome to Barbados’ 12 week long celebration, Crop Over.
During my second visit to the easternmost Caribbean island of Barbados, I experienced my first Carnival, and it will certainly not be my last. Crop Over began in the 19th century when slaves and locals celebrated the last harvesting of the sugar crop. Those same sugar plantations can still be seen around the country and serve as a reminder of the labor that sustains the island until this day.
In many ways, the celebration is still a defiant act against oppression. Ornate, gorgeously detailed costumes drape brown bodies that glisten in the sun. There is nothing to hide: flesh, movement, and thanksgiving is everywhere. Crop Over is as much as a beauty to revel in as it is to behold.
The final days of Crop Over include Foreday Morning and Grant Kadooment (Bajan slang for "big commotion"). Rihanna, a Bajan native attended the festivities last year, decked out in full band costume. If you can’t make it for the festival, Barbados is still worth a visit.
Getting around the island is easy and affordable. From its jagged coastlines to serene waters, Barbados offers a little bit of everything for every kind of traveler. Crane Beach is a beach lovers dream, and has landed on many top beaches of the world lists. Nightlife in Bridgetown and St. Lawrence Gap is always lively with a wide array of restaurants and dancing options. Enjoy Barbados’ Mt. Gay Rum and a spicy tamarind ball, a Bajan favorite. A trip to Barbados would also not be complete without a stop at the local fast food chain restaurant, Chefette, where roti is ordered in high demand. Whether you choose to visit the island for the Crop Over Festival or a beach vacation, you will be pleasantly surprised at how many options are available on this lively Caribbean island.