As the temperature heats up in July, so do the festivities for Barbados’ Crop Over celebration and not to be left out are the children with, Junior Kadooment – an annual festival that takes place throughout the summer and ends in early August.
This celebratory season originated during the late 1780s to signify the end of the sugar cane harvest, during a time when the island was the world’s largest sugar producer. It is distinctly unique from the Carnival festivities in other Caribbean countries.
The Young Revellers
Today, it has become a celebration of Bajan culture and is the island’s biggest national festival. Children also play a part in the celebrations. The Junior Kadooment sees the young revellers on the streets parading in costume to the National Stadium.
Grand Kadooment is the highlight of Barbados’ Festival as this is where revellers in some of the most colourful and creative costumes, take to the streets and brave any weather condition that presents itself on the island on that day.
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Not to be left out of the colourful, artistic and creative costumes and relaxing aspect of the island Festival, are the children as they too get their chance to hit the streets in grand style.
The young adolescent version is officially known as Junior kadooment but referred to as Kiddies Kadooment by the locals. Every year, around 2600 youngsters parade at the National Stadium. The event customarily begins around 9:00am and commences at 3pm. Watched by scores of spectators and commentated by familiar voices on local radio and television.
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This parade is a reduced version of the Grand Kadooment – without the street parade, the juniors only parade at the National Stadium and not in the street like the adults who participate in Grand Kadooment. It is mini parade where kids masquerade in costume, and is one of the many entertaining NCF events for the official calendar of the Crop Over Festival Season. The little ones boldly parade before judges as they decorate the stage with their costumes and various dances.
Various hues of burnt orange mixed with red and yellow, mixed shades of blue, greens and golds, captivates the eyes that stare on the designers’ creations that cross the stage. Every colour in the rainbow graces the National Stadium as over ten bands cross the stage on the last Saturday in July during the afternoon. Thousands of young ones brave the heat and the tiny revellers enjoy themselves in their beautiful and colourful costumes.
This event is really a colourful, innovative and creative display. Some of the designers utilise recycled materials, cardboard, PET bottles and so on, and there is never any doubt with the advent of each band that the spectators are looking at a different artistic expression. Some bands highlight the history and culturally significant figures in Barbadian history. Bands feature and highlight the steel donkeys, stilt walkers and the presence of the national colours of ultramarine, gold and black.
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Other topics that are on display include: the cultural environment, a tribute to veteran calypsonians, local sweet treats, the sugar cane industry and kites. Each band has a precise theme which is echoed by the skilfully made costumes of the revellers who despite the fact that some of them are of a young age, wear them amazingly.
Bands of costumed juniors vie for titles and prizes. Bands and individuals are judged on : portrayal, craftsmanship, presentation, originality and visual impact.
The stands are usually filled with young and old patrons coming to watch and others to lend support. This is evident by screams of encouragement for children and family members jumping in the bands.
Not only are local bands present but bands from other Caribbean countries also partake in the festive parade. Not too far from the children are the parents who are always at hand lending every ounce of support possible so as to comfort and encourage the little ones. It is abundantly clear, that Kiddies Kadooment is undoubtedly a family event.
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