Kadooment Day, celebrated on the first Monday of August in Barbados, is the most festive of the island’s festivities. This year’s date is August 7. It concludes the Crop Over Festival’s six-week celebrations. On this day, locals dress in elaborate costumes, consume copious amounts of rum and dance to the Caribbean’s popular calypso music. It is a celebration of life, liberty, and the past. The grand parade is the festival’s main attraction, an ostentatious, colourful ceremony that marks the end of weeks of nonstop celebration.
The background of Kadooment Day
‘Kadooment’ is a Bajan word for ‘large celebration.’ This holiday dates back centuries, to the period of slavery. Due to slave labour, Barbados was one of the largest sugar cane producers in the 1700s. Kadooment Day and Planting In order to commemorate the fruitful harvest of the sugar crop in the late 18th century, over day was created. Those who laboured on sugar cane plantations had the rare chance to smile, joke, and be merry. It was a holiday they avidly awaited, and when it finally arrived, they always celebrated in grand fashion; they could finally enjoy their lives, if only for a few weeks. They also had the opportunity to observe their ancient customs and traditions.
The concept of commemorating a bountiful harvest originates in Africa, where the majority of Barbadians trace their ancestry; Barbadians adopted and modified this culture. During this celebratory time, they paraded through the streets while chanting and dancing in costumes made of grass, feathers, flowers and bones. These festivities were their method of expressing gratitude to the gods and requesting additional blessings for the upcoming harvest. The concept of the elaborate masquerade costume was also borrowed from the Europeans, who frequently hosted masquerade celebrations at their manors. The celebrations included copious amounts of rum made from sugar cane by the residents.
Performers engaged in friendly competition, attempting to outperform one another through song and performance. People were encouraged to participate in the festivities rather than simply observe, which is likely where funfair parades in Barbados originated. Crowds of revellers shouted themselves breathless as they followed performers through the streets to the sound of calypso music. Even after slavery was abolished, Barbadians continued to observe Kadooment Day. It is profoundly rooted in their past and affords them the opportunity to celebrate their culture.
DAY OF KADOOMENT ACTIVITIES
Purchase a bottle of rum
Rum is one of the primary exports of Barbados. Celebrate Barbados on Kadooment Day with a toast.
Calypso music is performed during parades and concerts on Kadooment Day. This distinctive form of music is central to the culture and history of Barbados.
Throw a celebration.
Bajans enjoy celebrating, particularly on Kadooment Day. Host a party in costume and invite your peers. Enjoy food, drinks, and the companionship of others. Be grateful for the small pleasures in life.
5 QUICK FACTS ON BARBADOS
The Barbados parliament commenced operations in 1639.
Barbados’ capital, Bridgetown, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The prevalence of literacy in Barbados is 99.6%.
Barbados is the origin of grapefruit, a citrus hybrid of delicious orange and pomelo.
At 21 miles in length and 14 miles in width, Barbados is the thirteenth-smallest country in the globe.
KADOOMENT DAY DATES