The Crop Over Festival is a popular Barbadian festivals. It's an annual event which starts in May and ends in August with a festive street procession.
The Crop Over Festival which can be traced as far back as the 1780s, symbolises the end of the sugar cane harvesting season. The festival was initially terminated in 1940 due to a decline in sugar production in Barbados, but was revived in 1974. Since then, the festival has been through many changes which sought to showcase the talents of Barbadians.
The festival has grown to include weekly fetes and limes featuring traditional Barbadian food and music. There are also visual arts exhibitions, steel pan competitions and pan concerts,fairs, leisure cruises and private parties.
The Crop Over Opening Gala and Ceremonial Delivery of the Last Canes
This event is the official opening of the Crop Over Festival. It begins with a decorated cart parade which is a float parade through the streets. The occasion is used to crown and reward the top male and female sugar cane harvesters who are given the titles of King and Queen of the Crop respectively.
In addition, the last canes harvested are blessed by the leader of the Spiritual Baptists, Granville Williams and his church members. The group engages in extensive singing and prayers for the country and the sugar season that has past.
Calypso Music and Competitions
Calypso can be considered to be the music of Crop Over. Musicians from around the country and the Caribbean write and perform songs which are played on the radio, television and at Crop Over events.
Calypso tents feature calypsonians, comedians and other acts on a weekly basis and have become a staple of the festival. There are several singing competitions which judge tent members on the content, tempo and song arrangement to name a few of the categories.
One of the biggest calypso competitions of the season is the Pic-O-De-Crop. This competition features calypsonians singing two calypsos for the crown. The first prize is usually a new motor car, cash prizes and other awards from sponsors of the event. Red Plastic Bag (RPB), a beloved Barbadian calypsonian, walked away with the title in 2009. Other popular competitions inlude the Party Monarch competition, Sweet Soca Monarch and the Road March which is judged and awarded on the last day of Crop Over.
Children and Crop Over
Children also play an important part in the Crop Over Festival. There is a Junior Monarch competition which consists of children under the age of eighteen years singing calypsos. Children also participate in a Junior Kadooment, also known as Kiddies Kadooment. In this event, the younger ones parade and dance in costumes before judges.
The Last Lap Weekend
This weekend is the climax of the Crop Over Festival. It features the Pic-O-De-Crop competition on the Friday night; a Foreday Morning Jump-Up in the wee hours of Saturday morning; Bridgetown Market, which is a large fair focusing on local art, craft and talent takes place on Saturday and Sunday; Cohobbloot, a potpourri of Barbadian talent on Sunday night; and finally, Grand Kadooment on the Monday. This is the biggest event of the season and sees a procession of thousands of costumed revellers dancing through the streets to calypso music streaming from large music trucks.
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