A Brief History of the Famous Crop Over Season in Barbados!

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The Crop Over Festival is Barbados’ biggest and most popular festival, stretching for over 2 months of the year. Similar to Carnival in Brazil or Trinidad, the Crop Over Festival, specifically the culmination known as Grand Kadooment Day, attracts visitors and celebrities from all around the world who come to take in the rich culture and heritage and, of course, the parties and jump up.


With that being said, as you relax at Savannah Beach Hotel awaiting the build-up for the big day, let’s leave you with a brief history to pique your interest.

1. The Crop Over Festival was initially established in 1687 which makes it one of the oldest festivals in the Western Hemisphere.

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2. The festival was initially called Harvest Home as it was influenced by the English festival, Harvest Home and the West African festival, The Yam Festival.

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3. The festival was established to celebrate the end of the crop season.


A woman dressed in all white, with beautiful, colourful flowers stuck in her headwrap (mimicked by the headpieces seen today) led the parade. She was followed by the cane workers carrying the last batch of crops. The final cart would carry ‘Mr. Harding’.
The parade would continue with the well-known folk characters like the Shaggy Bear, Mother Sally and Stilt Men. It would also, quite importantly, include dancing and music, with individuals singing improvised, witty songs accompanied by shak-shaks, banjos, triangles, fiddles and guitars being used to create rhythmic beats. They would additionally have competitions like climbing the greased pole and drinking and eating competitions.

Mr. Harding
was a 20-foot effigy made of a pants, coat and top hat stuffed with cane trash which symbolized the ‘Hard Times’ to come between the sugar crop seasons. At the end of the festivities, they would burn Mr Harding with hopes that the ‘Hard Times’ would not be so grave.

4. The Festival was disbanded in the 1940s after the Second World War

This was specifically due to a decline in the sugar industry. Despite attempts to revive the festival in small ways, it was not quite the same.

5. Crop Over was reborn in 1974


This was done by the Barbados Tourism Authority. It was developed, slightly mimicking Trinidad’s Carnival, as a way to attract tourists during the slower period, while keeping the traditions and culture of the original Crop Over festival alive.

6. The festival was then taken over by the National Cultural Foundation

in 1983, developing the festival as we know it today. All aspects of the festival were enhanced providing enthusiasts and first-timers with the best experience every year.

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  • Crop Over today

begins from June 1st, now with the huge party ‘King Bubba Illuminate’ usually held at the hopping Copacabana Beach Club, and ends on the first 

Monday in August with Grand Kadooment. Of course, there are a plethora of events between to occupy your time, from the cultural, like Pan Pun De Sand, Bridgetown Market and Foreday Morning, to competitions like the Soca Monarch, concerts like Soca on De Hill, cruises, fetes and countless jouverts.

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  • Come party with all the celebrities 

like our very own Rihanna, Formula One racer Lewis Hamilton, model Jourdan Dunn and many many more as you enjoy the parties, cultural displays and most importantly, the jump up for Grand Kadooment.

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