Crop Over 2015 – Barbados

Carnival Bands

When we chose to holiday in Barbados this year, we did so with no expectation at all – more that we wanted to experience something a little different.

We certainly haven’t been disappointed.  In fact we have all fallen in love with the place.

What we hadn’t bargained on was being there for the biggest celebration of the Bajan calendar year – Crop Over.

Man dressed up for Crop Over
Crop Over 2015

We give grateful thanks to the wonderful Bajan staff in our hotel (Tamarind by Elegant Hotels) who shared so much information with us about Crop Over 2015.

What was staggeringly apparent throughout our holiday was the warmth and sincerity of the Bajan people.  They genuinely want others to share in and enjoy their culture and will do anything they can to help achieve this.

The Crop Over festival has been around since the 18th century at a time when Barbados was at its prime in the production of sugar cane.

At the end of the sugar season, there would be a huge celebration to mark the end of the successful harvest.   A King & Queen, the ones with the most successful harvest of the season were crowned.

From the array of events on offer during our stay, we chose to attend the Pic O De Crop final and Grand Kadooment, the carnival itself.

Grand Kadooment

Grand Kadooment 2015
Grand Kadooment 2015

Grand Kadooment is the name given to the carnival that takes place on the Bank Holiday Monday.  This year the carnival comprised of some 22 large bands dressed in costumes that depicted their various themes.  There are various ‘Monarch’ prizes at stake on the day for the various bands, song, designs and many more.

Carnival Floats
Floats lining the route to the National Stadium

With The Kid in tow we were advised to take in the action at the National Stadium where all of the ‘bands’ parade before the judges prior to taking to the road.  This gave us a birds eye view of all of the wonderful costumes.

One of the important phrases to learn in Bajan culture is ‘jumping up’.  Jumping up refers to dancing as in Calypso and Soca style.

Grand Kadooment 2015
“Jumping Up”!

Each of the bands are made up of various sections for example ‘Marine Life’ – was made up of various types of sea creature ie (Flying Fish).  The colours and the costumes are a sight to behold.  The work  that has gone into creating these wonderful designs and the ideas for the costumes is nothing short of amazing.  I have tried to include as many pictures as I can to try and recreate what we saw – short of actually being there.

Man wearing fish carnival costume
Marine Life
Man dressed up in fish costume for carnival
Flying Fish Costume

If you can imagine Soca & Calypso music playing while drinking Mount Gay Rum then you are pretty much there in spirit!

Carnival Bands in their beautiful costume
Carnival Bands in their beautiful costume
Lady in Carnival costume

For this bank holiday, the rain came and it poured and still they danced.

Dancing in the Rain
Dancing in the Rain
Dancing in the Rain
Poor feathers!
Dancing in the Rain
“Jumping Up” in the Rain

And then the sun came back out …

Carnival Bands
Beautiful in orange feathers
Grand Kadooment 2015
More colours …

As the parade in the stadium drew to a close, we took in a little of the street carnival to soak up some more atmosphere on our way back to the hotel.

Carnival floats
On with the parade!
Revellers taking to the streets
Revellers taking to the streets
Carnival items
Our ‘Loot’ – Carnival Leftovers

As we walked along street we saw that many items had been discarded and many feathers shed and we collected them from the floor.   We were subsequently told that this is not unusual and that usually by the end of the day the carnival revellers will have de-robed of most of their finery. IMG_3868

I mentioned Monarchs earlier and one of the specific prizes on carnival day is the ‘Road Monarch’.   This is when songs are judged on their popularity and the response from the revellers by judges along the route of the parade.

This years winner was unsurprisingly (even to us) Peter Ram with Ah Uh We (means All of Us/We Are One – that kind of thing).  It was the song of the holiday and had such a catchy tune, it just made you want to “jump up” every time you heard it.

Have a listen it will get you jumping too!! The chorus line is towards the end of the clip. 

In fact, that is precisely what the entire Duty Free did in the airport when it came on – staff and travellers alike.  It’s not often you have that much fun at the departure gate.

If we do nothing else this year, it won’t matter. This will have been enough.

Experiencing this wonderful island and its beautiful people is the stuff that memories are made of.

This one will certainly be going on our memory wall.

Lady in Carnival costume
Such beautiful costumes

I will talk more about the Pic O De Crop Final in my next blog.

Would love to hear what’s going to be going on your memory wall this year x

The Twinkle Diaries
Packing my Suitcase