How to Experience Barbados’ Unique Culture & Customs

Though small, Barbados has a long and varied history which formed its unique culture and customs. For those seeking to experience these culture and customs, we’ve put together a list of recommendations which we’re sure you’ll enjoy.

Barbados Museum

At the Barbados Museum you will be taken on a journey through time which will give you a greater appreciation for the island’s history and the influence of the Amerindians, Caribs, English, and Africans, which all contributed to the island’s culture and customs.

Beach!

The beach culture is a big part of the lives of Barbadians. Beach day traditions are instilled into Barbadians from childhood. The beach is for fun, picnics, therapy, fitness, healing illnesses, and just relaxation and is one of the most popular activities among locals. As soon as the sun rises, you can find older Barbadians taking their daily morning dips in preparation for the day. With so many beautiful beaches all around the island, it’s easy to understand why this custom lives on. At least one beach day during your vacation is a must!

Crop Over

The Crop Over festival began in the 1700’s and was a celebration to mark the end of a successful cane harvesting season. The Crop Over season takes place during the period of July to August with many parties, cruises, galas, and parades. However, the main event is Kadooment Day, which is the first Monday of August every year. Revelers from all over the world join Barbadians to party in the streets in colourful, feathered and beaded costumes to calypso music. It is the biggest cultural event on the island. To really experience Barbados’ culture, it is highly recommended that you participate in the Kadooment Day parade.

Bridgetown

Bridgetown is the capital city of Barbados and is one of the main hubs of Barbados’ culture and customs. For a true cultural experience, visit Bridgetown on a Saturday morning and visit a market as locals purchase their fresh produce for the upcoming week. The sights and sounds of the market are a true representation of the island’s culture from what they eat, to how they speak. In Bridgetown, there are also historical sites such as the Parliament Buildings which are the third oldest in the Commonwealth and there are also places of interest such as St. Michael’s Cathedral and the Jewish Synagogue, among many others. You can also visit Baxter’s Road for some of the island’s best local street food.

Oistins

The Oistins Fish Fry takes place every Friday, in the fishing village at Oistins Bay Gardens. At this event, you will find many locals and tourists together, enjoying freshly prepared fish and other mouthwatering Barbadian dishes. After eating, you can shake a leg or even try karaoke, which is a local favourite. This fish fry has been a Bajan custom for many years and is a great and enjoyable way to experience Barbados’ culture.

Rum Shops

Barbados has over 1500 rum shops! These community shops are the meeting spots for people to have a drink, relax and enjoy the company of their friends. Mount Gay Rum, which is the oldest rum in the world has been made on the island since 1703 and as such, rum is a big part of the island’s customs and traditions. These rum shops are actually the best places to experience Barbados’ culture. Persons who frequent these shops, especially the older persons, possess a wealth of information on Barbados’ culture and customs and are always willing to share information and experiences. Barbadians are known to be some of the friendliest people in the world and they are very proud of their culture and are always willing to share. To have the ultimate Barbadian experience, visit a rum shop, order your choice of rum (and some Bajan fish cakes!) and have a chat with the locals. It is sure to be a knowledge-filled experience you will never forget!

To experience the unique Barbados culture and customs book your stay at Port Ferdinand and if you need more recommendations for experiencing these, e-mail us at concierge@portferdinand.com and we’d be happy to assist.

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