Barbados has given the world a number of things to be grateful for. From musical talents such as Rihanna, to their food and festival celebrations. This island has made its mark in the world and does not fall short in amazement. Here are just some of the things that Barbados has that makes it so great.
Crop Over is the most culturally significant festival of Barbados. This event is a celebration of Barbados heritage, culture, music, dance, food and art and is about embracing and celebrating life! Creativity thrives as the celebration is filled with music, dance, local arts & crafts, folk concerts, art and photographic exhibitions, calypso, street parties, local food and Barbadian rum. The event attracts over 100 thousand people from all over the world and even has Rihanna as an ambassador who joins the colourful mases in celebrating the occasion.
Crop Over, once called “Harvest Home”, takes its origins from centuries ago to when Barbados was the world’s largest producer of sugar. It began in 1687 on sugar cane plantations, as a way to celebrate the end of the sugar cane crop!
The climax of the festival is Grand Kadooment which is when the epic masquerade parade is held. This is a day that is fun for everyone and is full of liveliness, passion and colour!
Flying fish and Cou Cou
The National Dish of Barbados, Cou Cou and Flying Fish is made with cornmeal and boiled okra, which is accompanied by stewed flying fish prepared with fresh onion, garlic, thyme, tomatoes, and pepper. This dish is rooted in national pride, and is made in households on a weekly basis, and even more so during Independence month.
Conkies are a traditional Barbadian dessert that can be usually found around the island’s annual Independence Day celebrations in November. These sweet treats are made of grated pumpkin, cornmeal, sweet potatoes and coconut and a mix of spices, served wrapped in banana leaves.
Macaroni pie, sometimes referred to as the island’s unofficial national dish or ‘pie’, has been a long-standing favourite among the people of Barbados. Commonly eaten as a side fish alongside fried fish Macaroni pie is made using macaroni pasta, cheddar cheese, onions, fresh herbs and spices, egg, milk, ketchup, and mustard.
One of the most common Barbadian food, a cutter in Barbados is essentially a sandwich, but better. It is a salt bread roll packed with any savoury filling of your choice such as egg, fish, cheese, ham, pork. The most popular on the island is the fish cutter made with fried flying fish, tomato, lettuce, Bajan pepper sauce, and sometimes cheese.
Fish cakes are one of the most popular dishes in Barbados and can be found on almost all menus. They are a savoury mix of salted cod fish and fresh herbs and spices, deep fried to golden perfection. A popular version of the Bajan cutter is the 'Bread and Two' which includes two fish cakes, a slice of a cheese and some pepper sauce.
Pudding and Souse
Pudding and Souse is a Saturday lunch staple in Barbados. The ‘souse’ is essentially pickled pork while the ‘pudding’ is steamed sweet potato mixed with onions, salt and pepper. This family favourite is often served with pickled breadfruit on the side. The recipe for this dish can change from one cook to another. Some preferring their pudding to be sweet and others preferring a ѕрiсiеr орtiоn.
Barbados is the first Caribbean country to abolish its monarchy since the 1970s, officially transitioning from a parliamentary constitutional monarchy under the hereditary monarch Queen Elizabeth to a parliamentary republic on 30 November 2021 after 55 years of independence.
Barbados also now has a couple of women in positions of high power within the political system. Dame Sandra Mason who was appointed governor general in 2018 and has since been voted into the title of first president upon the country becoming a republic. And Mia Mottley of the Barbados Labour Party who was appointed prime minister after her party won the 2018 general elections.
Things to do
Located in the heart of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Carlisle bay is not short of things to do. The marine park offers a favourite spot for scuba diving and snorkelling. With a total of 6 shipwrecks and a magnificent reef that attracts marine life such as tropical fish, sea horses, rays, octopus, turtles and eels it is the perfect place to enjoy the wonders of the sea surrounding the island. And you can always enjoy one of the many soft sandy beaches of Carlisle Bay making this the perfect location for both sunbathing and swimming.
Oistins fish fry
Every Friday night as the fish market closes, local DJs set up sound systems and the barbecues are fired up atBarbados’ biggest weekly party and legendary fish fry. Dozens of stalls serve up everything from grilled fish and shellfish to chicken and pork chops.
Paired with a cold beverage or cocktail as local musicians get the crowd moving, there is no disappointment in the small town as it is filled with energy and life for the party to continue well into the night.
Mount gay rum distillery
Barbados is home to one of the oldest operating, and most famous rum distilleries in the world, Mount Gay, which has been going since the early 18th century. Visitors have the chance to observe the rum-making process whilst learning about the history of the site and the modern distilling processes. At the end of the tour visitors are able to experience a taste of their best and most exclusive products including the 1703 Master Select.
Animal flower cave
In the north of the island, you’ll descend into the spectacular Animal Flower Cave, given their name from the colourful sea anemones that line the walls. Discovered in 1780, there are a set of coral steps carved through a former blowhole. In the first chamber, you’ll find shallow pools that open out to the sea through a diamond-shaped hole in the rocks. And in a second cavern, there is a natural rock pool with calm waters.
Promoted as one of the island's premier attractions, this cave network was discovered in the 18th century but was only fully excavated 200 years later. The tram tour takes visitors around the cave system with streams and paths to explore. On the 'adventure tour' however you can crawl, swim and duck through the cave's smaller passageways.