Saturday, 4 August 2012

Bridgetown Market

I have been remiss in not stating before that we are in the midst of celebrating our biggest and most popular festival on the island, our Crop Over Festival.
The origins of the Crop Over Festival can be traced back to a time when Barbados was the world's largest producer of sugar....gosh I cringe at the thought of typing those words, we were once ..."the world's largest sugar producer", and all we are left with now, is one only, "token" operating sugar cane heart cries out in pain.
But I digress....Back in the olden days, at the end of the sugar cane season, there would be a huge celebration to celebrate the end of another successful sugar cane harvest...i.e.  The end of the crop, or Crop Over.
I'm not so certain that we have a bumper crop that needs to be celebrated these days, but hey, the festival brings in lots of revenue to the island, as it attracts lots of tourists from the world over, so it remains the island's biggest festival.
It runs for approximately  two months (June until the first Monday in August) and includes lots of events throughout that period.
The festival begins with the Ceremonial Delivery of the Last Canes, and the crowning of the King and Queen of the Festival (the two cane cutters who produced the most).
Calypso Tents, where local calypsonians compete for prizes and titles such as:
Party Monarch, Sweet Soca Monarch, Road March Monarch, and Pic-O-De-Crop Monarch.
Cohobblopot, an evening's entertainment featuring the most popular calypsonians, and the King and Queen of the Bands.
Kiddies Kadooment, a parade of costumes for the kids.
Fore-Day Morning Jump Up, held in the wee morning hours with revelers smearing themselves in mud, paint, oil and cocoa and parading and jumping through the streets.
Grand Kadooment Day, is the biggest street party where revelers in costumed bands jump from our National Stadium down to the Spring Garden Highway.
Bridgetown Market consists of many stalls along the Spring Garden Highway selling drinks, food, arts and crafts, and that's where we are off to today.

Food stalls along the sea side of the Spring Garden Highway
 (I went early before the crowds, so don't let the empty stalls fool you.  Later in the day, you won't even be able to step quickly.... there will be throngs of people)

Those pink sneakers belong to the happiest, friendliest plant nurseryman around
His happiness transfers to his plants-see how healthy they all look?

 Locally made picture postcards with abstract designs

 Rastafari  garb....although everyone wears what they want these days

  Red, gold,  and green are the Rastafari brethren colours

 Hats to keep your head cool from the sun

 Local jewelry designs made with wire and beads

 Locally crafted wire ornaments depicting everything from golf and steel pan
 To cane cutting and limbo dancing

Closer view of the steel pan man (pannist)

 Can you see the fine intricate details of this wire artwork?

 Hand made wooden items

 Leather sandals and shoes - all locally hand made

 The Last Supper - an intricately designed picture
made of wood - using a small saw to cut out the design of the picture

 All using the same cut out principle....some take days to complete I was told

 "The Hidden Forest" - see if you can find the hidden images in the picture???

 As you can tell I spent quite a bit of time admiring these delicate wooden cut out pieces

The next stall also caught my rapt attention

Lots of wooden trinket boxes and storage pieces made from all kinds of different wood
Can you see the various countries along the top shelf?
From left to right - Guyana, St.Vincent, Trinidad and Barbados
Trinket boxes made from many fused woods like mahogany, cedar, kabukalli and tamarind wood
VISA accepted here!!!

 Barbados trinket box made from mother-in-law tongue tree (Albizia lebbeck)

.... and yet another made from the wood of the tamarind tree

 The vendors were very friendly and gave me lots of information about their products. I really enjoyed meeting with them and admiring their works of art.
We have  a lot of talented artisans on the island, that's for sure.
So we say goodbye to Bridgetown Market for 2012......until next year.


  1. Cohobblopot and Kadooment: what wonderfully evocative names. Not that I could even hazard a guess at what they represent.

    The market is far better than anything I usually see in the UK and even France where the markets have become either food or very 'samey' with tourist items. Of course a lot of yours are tourist items too but they are different from the ones I'm used to therefore inherently more interesting.

    I am learning lots about a new place. Wonderful.

  2. GB, this is the biggest market on the island, a 3 day event, which occurs once a year during our Crop Over season.
    Most items are indeed tourist-oriented, but locals also buy trinkets to send for relatives overseas.
    I always go for the plants and the food.
    It's also a nice way to meet up with folks you don't run into on a daily basis. Sometimes you meet long lost school friends whom you haven't seen in years!!!


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