Local traditions and culture in Barbados

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    Bajan National Dish

    by joanj Updated Aug 31, 2004

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    A Bajan national dish is Cou-cou and salt fish. Cou-cou is a cornmeal and okra pudding. It is ladled with gravy and served with a salt fish stew. Cou-cou in the making is a wonderful sight to see and a challenge, much energy is put into the stirring, for if any lumps are allowed to form, it is considered a failure. The finished mixture is packed into a bowl, and then turned out on to a plate. The centre of the mound is sunk with a spoon and a light gravy ladled into the centre and around the golden mound. I

    I have eaten this dish, and it is lovely, I have also had a friend make cou-cou for me, and can tell you it looks like hard work. There is a special little wooden stick called a cou-cou stick, that is the traditional tool for stirring the cou-cou.

    Also a national dish is flying fish and cou-cou.

    That too is delicious, and when I visit a friend she sometimes cooks this for me. If not the cou-cou, then the flying fish, and sometimes, Bajan Fish Cakes, another culinery delight.

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    Saturday tradition

    by joanj Updated Aug 31, 2004

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    Bajan tradition is for "pudding and souse" - an old island dish still made everywhere, and served on Saturdays.

    The pudding is made from grated and well-seasoned sweet potato, which is stuffed into the cleaned pig's intestines called "belly" which is then steamed. The cooked pudding looks like a long dark sausage. This is cut into clices and served with the "souse" - pig's head ,feet and flesh cooked until tender, cut into slices and "soused" or pickled with lime juice, onion, hot and sweet peppers, salt , finely chopped cucumber and parsley.

    I cannot tell you what it tastes like, because when I was offered it, and asked what the dish contained, I politely declined!. If anyone has tried it, please let me know !! Shall be interested.

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    Holetown Festival - St. James Parish

    by joanj Updated Aug 31, 2004

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    Here in February the Holetown Festival takes place, commemorating the first settlers landing in 1627. There is a week of special performances, which ends with a two day street fair.

    There are many stalls - craft, art, local food, -a Tuk Band usually makes an appearance,

    Visitors and locals alike have a wonderful time.

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    Independence Day

    by joanj Updated Aug 31, 2004

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    Independence Day - November 30th, is celebrated by the National Independence Festival of Creative Arts.

    There are competitions in dance, drama, song, paintings, writing and other art forms.

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    • Festivals

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    Crop Over

    by joanj Updated Aug 30, 2004

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    There are four major festivals on the Barbados calendar and the largest and the longest is CROP OVER. This is a revival of the traditional celebration of the sugar cane harvest. It is a season for the Decorated Cart Parade, the Calypso Monarch Competition, numerous neighbourhead parties, and culminates on Kadooment Day with costumed revelry and parades from early morning till late at night.

    Unfortunately I have no photo to share with you, as I am never on the Island during Crop Over. - mores the pity !

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    Immigration Fees

    by luke850 Written May 23, 2004

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    When you leave Barbados it is important to remember that you will have to pay an immigration fee of 25 BDS per person if you want to get out. You cannot leave the island without paying, so remember to budget for this.

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    Bajan People

    by luke850 Written May 23, 2004

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    People in Barbados call themselves Bajan, so the peole in general are called Bajans. The people on the island are generally very friendly, and will wave or say 'hello' as you pass by. It is well received if you wave back or say 'hello' to them. Many of the locals will be more than happy to chat with you over a beer or glass of rum, and it is an excellent way of getting an insight into what life is like over there.

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    Begging?

    by luke850 Written May 23, 2004

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    On the beaches of Barbados there are a number of locals who think that instead of actually working for a living, they can just sponge off tourists. These people don't see what they do as begging, but actually believe that visitors to the island should give them something for nothing. You will be able to spot these people as they wander up and down the beaches, looking for people they think will give them something. If you give them one thing, say a cigarette, they won't leave you alone until they've got a lot more. The most annoying thing about this is that these people are clearly not homeless or particularly poor, they just want something for nothing. The actual homeless/poor people do not tend to ask for anything.

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    Chattel Houses

    by grandmaR Updated May 9, 2004

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    Chattel houses are a unique part of the Bajan landscape.

    The name chattel was confusing to me, but the word "chattel" comes from the English common law. It refers to personal property as distinguished from real property (land as in real estate).

    Plantation workers on the sugar cane plantations had houses that could be disassembled and put up again in another place. The foundations were of loose stone. This was because the workers did not own the land that the houses were built on. In the event of being fired or some other dispute they could be moved to another place.

    The houses are usually small and brightly colored and have a steep gable roof with short eaves, constructed of corrugated iron. This is to prevent the wind getting under the edge of a flat roof and lifting it off.

    Chattel houses often have jalousie windows (very popular in the tropics) which may have wooden slats and three sets of hinges (2 vertical and one horizontal) for maximum flexibility against the wind and sun. They are often trimmed with ornamental wooden fretwork.

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    Got Rum?

    by dracko Written Nov 14, 2003

    Rum is something that Barbados is famous for. There're several distilleries on the island, and Bajans know their rum! It's omnipresent, it's a big part of the local culture, and it tends to be pretty damn good, as well as cheap. Rum punch is probably the most common drink that's mixed with it.

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    Honking

    by dracko Written Nov 14, 2003

    In Barbados honking your horn is second nature. It's a universal jesture, that works equally well as a greeting and as a display of a driver's frustration. Though usually it is a greeting. And since for some reason every taxi driver on the island knows just about EVERYONE of the island's 250,000 residents, the horns don't stay silent for long... That said, the greeting honks are usually very short, followed by a wave.

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    Red Plastic Bag (Barbados music)

    by Fen Written Nov 13, 2003

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    While we was driving around in our hired Jeep we heard this song called "Volcano" on our car radio and then in our Hotel bar. I asked the Barman and he told me the song was by Red plastic bag. Fantastic I said, I will buy this Album. It went down a treat, as we got everyone listening to it before the Holiday was over.

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    Fish fry

    by minkota Written Jun 20, 2003

    Please go to Oistins for fish. Enjoy the sweet strains of calypso and reggae music coming from the sidewalk stalls. Of course dancing to all that music builds up an appetite, so head for the food and beverage stalls and enjoy traditional Bajan fare such as fish cakes, fried fish and pudding and souse, all washed down with a cool Banks Beer. Local arts and crafts can also be found in abundance as local craftsmen take the opportunity to display their wares. Entertaining, the Oistins Fish Festival certainly is.
    This is the first time I have ever eaten flying fish and it is the best fish I have ever had!!

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  • Be polite, but determined!

    by Wikingwoman Written Mar 21, 2003

    Men in Barbados like women - a lot!
    Sometimes their way of expressing that can seem a little agressive, and make your stay stressful and uncomfortable.
    I got a really helpful tip concerning this: "If you are not interested in getting romanticly (or in other ways) involved with the guy approaching you - just tell him straight! Don't try to be nice, and feel sory for him."
    For me it felt rude the first time I had to do it, but oh so effective!

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    Tipping

    by rachel_sun Written Mar 10, 2003

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    Also,a 10% tip is expected here,but make sure that it has not already been added to the bill as some places add it on automatically.
    Bathing suits should only be worn on the beach,not around shops and also skimpy clothes will be out of place in a town.Remeber that you have to pay a departure tax when you fly back home of around bds $25,so budjet for this.Make sure you keep the copy of your immagration card that you filled out on your flight out safe as you will need to hand it in when you fly home.

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    • Food and Dining

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