Barbados Crop Over: What to Expect From the Biggest Party on the Island

15/03/2022Tom Spruce
Caribbean Carnivals

What’s it like getting stuck in at Barbados Crop Over? We can tell you because we’ve experienced it first-hand. 

Two women celebrate Carnival in the Caribbean
Barbados Crop Over is back. But what’s it like at the festival? Photo by Quinten de Graaf on Unsplash

The incredible Barbados Crop Over celebrations are returning after COVID. But what’s it like attending the biggest festival on the island?

There hasn’t been a Crop Over in Barbados for nearly two years, but Prime Minister Mia Mottley confirmed recently that the carnival will return in 2022

In this blog we’ll reintroduce you to Crop Over and tell you everything you need to know about the stupendous shindig. Plus, we’ll even give you some first-hand experience of what it’s like to immerse yourself in the celebrations from our own time there.

But, first, what the hell is Crop Over?

What is Crop Over?

While the carnival spirit can run out over 12 weeks, the official festival season runs from July – August. Bookended by the main celebrations of Foreday Morning Jump Up at the end of July and Grand Kadooment Day at the start of August. The Crop Over festival history dates back to the late 1600s, so you know the return for 2022 is going to be a big deal.

Originally conceived as a way for hard working Bajans to celebrate the end of the harvest season, Crop Over has gone on to become one of the biggest and best carnivals in the Caribbean

During those summer months, the island comes to life in a sea of kaleidoscopic colour. With the carnival attire of choice being flamboyance and feathers.

So what are the main celebrations to watch out for?

People celebrating Caribbean carnival
People line the streets at Carnival time. Photo by Bash Visual on Unsplash

Our Top 3 Barbados Crop Over Celebration Days

1. The Mimosa Party

On the morning of the mimosa party you can expect an early rise to be at the party venues by 6am and, of course, there’s mimosas on arrival.

The entire site is covered in colourful decorations, with food and alcohol tents placed alongside the dance area. Music booms out for miles around, while festival-goers from across the world wearing their national flags get involved in the drinking and dancing.

Crowds grow as the day goes on and even the country’s Prime Minister catches the dance fever. From our experience, the only thing that can halt the party is a brief downpour.  

People dancing on a beach in brightly coloured carnival costumes
Expect some pretty impressive finery to be donned

2. Jambalasse

Next up it’s Jamabalasse and, now the Barbados night time curfew has been lifted, it looks set to be one of the celebrations of the festival season in 2022. If you want to make the most of Jambalasse, we recommend getting some shut-eye in the day, because it’s one hell of a night.

Getting off the bus at the starting point you can already hear music sounding out and people dancing in the distance. Being daubed in colourful body paints and grabbing a famous spicy or non-spicy curry wrap are must–do’s. 

Once the music truck started moving you’re off, dancing through the streets. Locals from all over come out to support the parade dancers, plus, if you’re in need of sustenance, food and drink trucks follow the crowd.

The heaving mass eventually hits its final destination around 5am and waiting there is a full cooked buffet breakfast. Then it’s back to the hotel and into the sea to wash off what’s remaining of that kaleidoscopic body paint. We told you it was a long night! 

People dancing in brightly coloured festival costumes
There’s dancing everywhere you look at festival time

3. Grand Kadooment Day

The culmination of the festivities is the incredible Kadooment Day which acts as the grand finale to the carnival. Wave after wave of colourfully dressed and well-spirited people dance their way down street and disappear off into the distance towards the end point at Spring Garden Highway beachfront.

Be prepared to witness a hive of activity. Bands, set up on the music trucks, compete to win best overall band of the festivities. Meanwhile, the streets are crowded with revellers, as well as news crews interviewing anyone who’ll stop dancing for long enough to be questioned.

But there’s more to this Caribbean harvest festival than just drinking and dancing. You can find some alternative, but still awesome, actvities in the capital.

crop over Barbados
People gathering in the street for the Kadooment Day celebrations

Spend Some Time in Bridgetown Market

This is where you’ll find the biggest street fair of the festival. Bridgetown Market fills the length of that Spring Garden Highway and it’s perfect if you’d prefer to explore the stalls rather than dancing in the streets. 

Take a casual wander around the market and browse the plethora of wares. Here you’ll find locals selling souvenirs, eye-catching crafts and grand outfits. But you’ll also be enveloped by the smell of incredible Barbados street food, as well as the sounds of the Tuk Band keeping the party atmosphere alive.  

Don’t miss the return of Crop Over

With colourful costumes, mouth-watering food and non-stop music covering the festivities, the Barbados Crop Over is a must-see.

Jump right in to the festival action with a range of events to fill every hour of the day. Then relax beach-side in the Caribbean sun to take it all in.

We can help put you in the picture with our incredible range of Barbados resorts just waiting to be discovered. Click the button below to choose the perfect one for you. 

Discover barbados with Caribbean Warehouse

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