Thanks to the peculiarity of the 2017 calendar Barbadians are enjoying an extended Crop Over season that promises two weekends of musical competitions coupled with intense partying whereas there is usually one weekend of mass revelry.
Emancipation Day on Aug. 1, one of the most important holidays in the Caribbean almanac marking the date slavery ended, falls on Tuesday but the traditional August Monday, the day of the week that freed slaved celebrated Emancipation in 1838 is the following Monday this year.
Crop Over celebrations usually simmer for almost two months, begin boil as the Aug. 1 date closes in and bubbles over into an explosion of celebration of Grand Kadooment when thousands of locals and visitors from around the world take to the streets of Barbados, forget their daily worries and dance as if there is no tomorrow.
Crop Over celebrations have their birth in festivities marking the traditional June end of the season of reaping of sugar cane, the principal reason for Caribbean slavery.
Over the years it evolved into festivals or art, dance and music with massive partying ending with unrestricted abandon on the days immediately surrounding Emancipation Day, which usually falls on, or close to a weekend, to tie in with August Monday.
Last year it fell on a Monday making August Monday and Emancipation Day all conveniently in one. In 2015 it fell on a Saturday making a convenient Emancipation Day and August Monday in one weekend.
But the calendar split of the days in 2017 makes for untold revelry, with 2018 promising not to be any different.
For this reason it is fair to anticipate Barbadians jumping into a weekend of partying this Saturday and Sunday, with only the conscientious appearing for ‘work’ Monday, then be off on Emancipation Day, Tuesday, after which they will be preparing for the coming second weekend of festivities ending with Grand Kadooment.
Highlights this Saturday include youngsters parading in their costume competition for Junior Kadooment, and Soca Legends in Concert at night.
Sunday will be ablaze with Soca Royale battle for the Party Monarch and Sweet Soca Monarch crowns.
The Sweet Soca Monarch competition will pit veteran artiste and defending monarch Edwin Yearwood against the likes TC, Shaquille, Nikita, Marzville, Lil Rick, Sanctuary, Red Plastic Bag and Damien Marvay.
Party Monarch Lil Rick will be defending his crown against Mikey, Faith, Ras Iley and Grynner, Blood, Rameses, Mistah Dale, and Peter Ram, and Saffiyah.
An Emancipation Walk from the Bussa monument to liberation in Haggat Hall along historical sites into Bridgetown, begins Emancipation Day activities Tuesday, to be followed by multiple celebrations on that holiday.
Setting the scene for Grand Kadooment Monday, Aug, 7 will be the Pic-O-De-Crop finals at Kensington Oval, where reigning Queen Aziza will defend her title against 10 other finalists Edwin Yearwood, Chrystal Cummins-Beckles, A.C., Observer, Sir Ruel, Donella, Classic, Colin, Smokey Burke, and iWeb.