6 Reasons Every Black Person Should Experience Crop Over In Barbados

6 Reasons Every Black Person Should Experience Crop Over In Barbados

Carnival season has wrapped in the Caribbean but it’s the perfect time to prepare your travel plans for next year—especially if you’re a Black American who has never experienced a real Carnival in a Caribbean country.

I was lucky enough to enjoy a VIP introduction to Barbados Crop Over with Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI), which helped me understand why every Black American should experience not only Carnival in the Caribbean but Crop Over in Barbados.

If you’re of the Black diaspora with no known Caribbean heritage, there’s plenty of reason to experience Carnival firsthand. The festivals, parties, and culture are ones all will enjoy, but especially the melanated ones who share a deeper connection with the history and purpose of it all.

If you’re new to Carnival culture and want a proper introduction without a J’ouvert experience that will leave you scrubbing paint off your body for the next week, Barbados Crop Over might be right up your alley.

Crop Over is a traditional Barbadian festival that celebrates the end of the sugarcane harvest season. With its ties to slavery, the annual festival has evolved into a major cultural event and a significant tourism attraction in Barbados. Tourists worldwide flock to the island nation each year to indulge in the culture, history, celebration, music, food, and entertainment.

Barbados Crop Over allows people to experience the spirit of the Caribbean country by connecting with its people and partaking in a centuries-old tradition that holds deep significance for the island and its residents. If you need more convincing on why you should attend Barbados Crop Over, read on for six reasons that’ll have you ready to book your flight today.


When was the last time you let all your worries go on the dance floor? There’s a sense of freedom, self-expression, and emotional release when dancing and Crop Over offers plenty of opportunities to dance. Between the back-to-back fetes (parties), Soca music at every turn, and lively energy, you’ll find yourself moving and grooving without any fears or worries.

The J’ouvert or “Native Foreday Morning Fete” was by far one of the most fun-filled experiences I’ve ever had. Happiness surrounds you as people of all shapes, sizes, and backgrounds wear their most run-down clothes for an early morning party of dancing, drinking, and throwing paint on each other.

It sounds messy, but the more paint you throw (water-based paint, thankfully) the more free you feel. It’s also the perfect preparation for Kadooment, the first Monday in August when the entire island comes out to celebrate the close of Crop Over. The costumes are mesmerizing and the music and dancing are endless as you sway down the road in rhythmic unison while an audience of beautiful Black faces cheer you on.

Ties to Black History in Slavery

In America, we’ve only recently come to a place where Juneteenth is recognized as a federal holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. Even with Juneteenth becoming a national holiday in 2021, there are still ways to go in having it not just recognized but celebrated by the masses. However, in the Caribbean, they’ve been celebrating the liberation of our ancestors for centuries. When it comes to Barbados Crop Over, it’s all about honoring our ancestors and their successes during the times of slavery.

“Historically, it represents a huge part of our heritage,” Tenisha Holden, Senior Business Development Officer at BTMI, tells BLACK ENTERPRISE.

“The origins of the festival date back to the days of chattel slavery, where, after the culmination of a successful sugar cane harvest, enslaved Africans would celebrate with drums, dancing, and drinks.”

“Though the festival has certainly evolved from its humble origins, a huge part of the Crop Over season is about celebrating our ancestors and paying homage to our roots,” she adds.

There’s Something For Everyone

Who said Barbados Crop Over was just for young partygoers? There is something for everyone to enjoy regardless of age, race, or gender. Between the cultural heritage, music and dancing, socializing, food, and spirit of unity, tourists will become immersed in the fun that fills the island no matter what demographic you represent. There’s also plenty of time to celebrate and not just the week leading up to Kadooment.

“The thing is Crop Over is really a two-month long festival, though, of course, everything comes to a head in the week before Grand Kadooment,” Holden explains.

“Prior to the big finale weekend, or ‘last lap’ as we call it, there are so many activities and events happening on the island. We have museum and art exhibits, poetry readings, and lots and lots of musical events. I think the spectacle of grand Kadooment and the fetes etc. take center stage but we truly have so much going on—from Bridgetown Market to horse racing!”

“Barbados as a destination has a place for everyone—from the foodies, to the thrill-seeker to the historian, and this doesn’t change during Crop Over,” holden adds.

“So bring your entire family and come, I promise there will be something exactly your speed. And, in any case, I think the beach is everyone’s speed!”

Perfect Way to Support Black Business

Crop Over showcases local Bajan craftsmanship through arts and crafts exhibitions like never before. Anyone with an appreciation for traditional arts and artisanal work will enjoy browsing the endless displays and supporting local artists. The festival also offers a chance to celebrate and support local Bajan artists, musicians, and performers.

“Of course, from an economic perspective, Barbados is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world and though we are known for our sun, sea, and sand—Crop Over is our chance to show the world how much more we have to offer,” Holder says.

“If you get the chance to participate in the festival, you really get intimately acquainted with our people and our culture. It’s one big family reunion and I think it showcases Barbados and its people at our best—our most vibrant, our most free, and our most spirited. The best of Barbados is really the people so I think that you really get to see who we are and where we shine, especially during Crop Over.”

All-Inclusive Parties

If you’re coming to a party in Barbados, just know a plate of hot food isn’t too far away. Our press group enjoyed parties at the Barbados Derby, J-Scape Bar, Halo Lounge, Rise Barbados, Cool Runnings Catamaran Cruise, and Lifted Beach, and there wasn’t one fete we went to that didn’t have food on hand. For all the rum, tequila, and whiskey you’ll likely consume, there’s a delicious dish waiting on the other side. Food pretty much comes with your ticket purchase at Crop Over. The all-inclusive parties include food, drinks, and dessert that prove why Barbados is the culinary capital of the Caribbean, as noted by The Times (of London).

Real Carnival is Only In The Caribbean—and Barbados Knows How to Party

While there are Carnivals in Caribbean-heavy cities like Miami, Florida, Brooklyn, and Toronto, anyone of Caribbean heritage will tell you there’s no Carnival like a Carnival in the Caribbean. Countries like Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Antigua, Grenada, and Jamaica are known for their annual Carnival celebrations with Trinidad and Barbados ranking in the top two.

Considering the timing, Barbados Crop Over “final lap” into Kadooment comes in the first week of August. A time when most are out of school or looking for time off from work.


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“After the pause due to the pandemic, we’re definitely picking back up momentum,” Holder says.

“Each year we have more and more eyes on the festival and demand goes up. Flights are booked from as early as a year in advance in anticipation of the festival.”

So what are you waiting for? There’s plenty of reason to Visit Barbados for Crop Over 2024! Who knows, Rihanna might even make a surprise return…..

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