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BARBADOS - Parish St. Michael - festivals

Festivals are the living expression of our creative, imaginative people. These cultural extravaganzas reflect the dynamism of our local culture. Over the years street festivals have become an art form in Barbados and some of the best occur in St. Michael.

Click to visit photographers website Today calypso is an integral part of the Crop Over festival, with the Pic-O-De-Crop Calypso Monarch Competition being one of the most popular events. During the Crop Over season, numerous calypso tents perform several times weekly and performers compete for a place in the Calypso Monarch finals.

The enthusiasm of Barbados' young calypsonians ensures that the future of calypso in Barbados is secure. The Junior Calypso Monarch competition, serves as an excellent training ground for the calypsonians of the future.
This is a truly unique Barbadian celebration Created from the marriage of the English Harvest Festival and the West African Yam Festival, Crop Over is a coming together of these two great cultures.

Barbados calypso music. Click to visit photographers website It was originally held on the sugar plantations and involved the celebration of the end of harvesting of the sugar crop. The plantation labourers would bring the last load of sugar canes to the mill, followed by a procession of workers with exotically decorated animal carts. An effigy was made out of cane trash, representing the hard times faced when sugar cane was not in season.

Barbados crop over The official beginning of the festival was when the plantation owner was thanked for being the host of the festival. Food was a plenty and drink flowed freely and there was a riot of folk song, (original calypso music), traditional tuk-band music and dancing.

In the 1940's, due to the war, it was discontinued but the people longed for their traditional form of celebration and finally Crop Over was revived in the 1970's. From simple beginnings it has grown to a massive festival requiring many months of preparation. Commencing late June and lasting for five weeks, Crop Over's main features are calypso music, flamboyant costumes and a carnival spirit that infects the entire island. Street jump -ups with tuk-music and stilt walking, vendors with a fantastic selection of food and drink, calypso tents offering a great evening's entertainment: in short ... plenty of fun for all!


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Calypso rhythms Click to visit photographers website The festival starts with the Ceremonial Delivery of the Last Canes, delivered in a brightly coloured donkey cart. Calypso competitions climax at The Pic-O-De-Crop finals with the crowning of the calypso king or queen. The grand finale is Kadooment Day which starts at the National Stadium where the various bands parade before the judges. Here the fabulous array of Carnival costumes creates a riot of colour as band members dance to their favourite calypso in front of the packed stadium. The procession then heads down to Spring Garden Highway, where it can only be described as a frenzy of activity and joyous celebration, in other words, a big ?wuk-up?! Over the years Crop Over has contributed to increased arrivals during the traditionally 'slow' summer months, as visitors, and Barbadians living overseas, travel from all over the world to join in this fun filled festival.  

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