On the first Monday in August, in Barbados, it’s “Kadooment Day”, a public holiday of great and historic cultural importance to the people. It is the day on which the people of Barbados traditionally cut down their crops, and thus, is a harvest celebration.
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The traditions behind Kadooment Day stem from Africa, from where most of the people’s ancestors hail. For hundreds of years, people have donned themselves in costumes made of grass, bones, feathers, and other natural materials and gone out to dance and sing in the streets. Originally, the idea was to entreat the gods for blessings, scare off evil spirits, and bring good luck for the year to come.
On “Grand Kadooment Day”, people often visit Barbados from many other countries around the world, including from African countries which also keep up the “Kadooment Carnival”.
A colourful parade of costumed dancers will pass through the villages of Barbados on Kadooment Day. But to take part as a performer, you have to register or risk being fined and imprisoned for up to two years. Obviously, the government takes Kadooment Day celebrations very seriously.
The carnival continues for two full days in many instances, and at the end of the celebrations, harvested crops will be either sold at market or stored up for use by families.