Crop Over

Crop Over
Crop Over, formerly known as Harvest Home, is a Barbadian harvest festival with a history that spans more than 300 years. It lasts for about two months, filled with Carnival processions, parties, and other exciting events and activities that attract tourists from all over the world.

The crop over tradition has its early beginnings on the sugar cane plantations during the colonial period. In the late 17th century, Barbados was one of the world’s leading sugar exporters. Crop Over began as a Carnival-like celebration that signaled the end of the annual sugar cane harvest. It featured singing, dancing, feasting, drinking, and various competitions.

The festival was disbanded due to the harsh effects of the Second World War on Barbados. However, it was later revived by a group of local stakeholders and the Barbados Tourist Board. Since its revival in the 1970s, Crop Over has become the biggest national festival in Barbados, similar to the Trinidad Carnival.

Crop Over kicks off in late May or early June and lasts until the first Monday in August. The two months of the festival are one big party with calypso music, cavalcades, food stalls and tents, craft markets, art exhibitions, and more. Main highlights include the calypso competition and calypso tents.

Calypso tents originated in Trinidad. A calypso tent is a venue where calypsonians (musicians performing calypso music) perform during the Carnival season. It doesn’t have to be a real tent though. Calypsonians traditionally provide biting social commentaries on the events of the past year. They also compete for the coveted Calypso Monarch Award. Other awards presented during Crop Over include the Peoples Monarch Award and the Party Monarch Award.

The last day of Crop Over was named Kadooment Day after the festival’s spectacular finale known as the Grand Kadooment. It always falls on the first Monday of August and is a public holiday in Barbados. The Grand Kadooment is a carnival parade featuring calypso bands and revelers in elaborate costumes depicting various themes. The parade begins at the National Stadium and ends at Spring Garden in Bridgetown. It is followed by a massive street party and a fireworks display.

Crop Over

Photo: Gillian Brain




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