One of the most beloved and colourful celebratory events in the region, Barbados’ Crop Over festival is held annually every summer. The tradition harkens back to the late 1700s – days when Barbados was the king of sugar production, and celebrations were customarily held at the end of a bountiful sugar cane harvest. The festival became less popular with the downturn of the sugar industry in Barbados, and was finally terminated. In 1974, the festival was reinstated and now attracts thousands of attendees from all over the world.
Although somewhat altered from its origins as a harvest rite, the festival in its current incarnation is a joyous celebration of history and culture in a carnival atmosphere. The Opening Gala and Ceremonial Delivery of the Last Canes honours the two highest-producing cane cutters of the season. One man and one woman are crowned King and Queen of the Festival. Brilliantly-garbed bands play calypso music, and even the children are elaborately dressed for their own parade.