Happy Emancipation Day / Week!

Many islands in the Caribbean that were former British territories are marking the emancipation of slavery this week. The specific day varies by country but most fall within the first week of August, specifically August 1st. Slavery was abolished by the British empire in 1834 and to mark the occasion many islands have cultural festivals and carnivals to pay homage to enslaved ancestors.

Here in Barbados, it’s Crop Over, the annual carnival tradition. Revelers awoke in the wee hours of the morning today to parade through the dark streets with paint, powder and oil as part of the celebration known as Foreday.

Pictured above is the Emancipation Statue, located just east of Bridgetown. It marks the island breaking the chains of slavery. Many Barbadians refer to the figure as Bussa, named after an enslaved Barbadian who led a slave revolt in 1816.

Today is a holiday therefore businesses are closed. But masquerades for Monday’s Grand Kadooment Day parade are still picking up their costumes. The streets are filled with the sounds of sweet soca and calypso music and everyone is ready to party!

Happy Emancipation!