Barbados Flag
Laura Sacco
The second presenter in the Multicultural Community series is Briana Donavan, parents of Brendan, Class of 2023. Briana has a rich Bajan heritage with links to Ireland as well. She shared her ethnicity's language, customs, traditions, and meaningful facts. 
Briana began the presentation with an introduction video to the beauty of Barbados, enticing us all to want to travel there. Barbados is completely surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and is only 21 miles long and 14 miles wide. Barbados is a beautiful island with incredible natural sights, including brightly colored gardens, underground caves, and a forest overflowing with wildlife. The Island boasts gorgeous landscapes and bustling urban areas. The name 'Barbados' is derived from the Bearded Fig Trees once found in abundance on the Island. In 2008, Rihanna became one of the country's cultural ambassadors, doing promotional work on behalf of the Barbados tourism ministry.

Barbadians (also known as Bajans) enjoy warm and sunny weather all year. The maximum daily temperature is 75-90 °F. North-East tradewinds consistently cool the Island. The dry season lasts from January to June.

As Briana showed the flag of Barbados, she shared the significant meaning. The flag is a triband design. The outermost stripes are colored ultramarine to represent the sea and the sky, and the middle stripe is colored gold to represent the sand. The head of a broken trident is displayed within the middle band, which is meant to represent the severed ties between Barbados and the United Kingdom.

Barbados' traditions are drawn from the West African and British cultures that shaped the Island. Like any culture, annual festivals are significant to Barbadians. Each has its own historical and cultural significance. Crop Over (a five-week celebration) reflects the history of the sugar industry, a protest against injustice, and the ultimate liberation of enslaved people.

During Crop Over the Island is overflowing with parties galore where celebrators can expect live music, dancing, carnivals, markets, cultural presentations, and more. Kadooment (large party) is the Island's most significant celebration and is the final day of the 5-week festival. Its roots date back to the 1700s. 

Cou-cou with flying fish is the national dish of Barbados. Cou-cou, similar to polenta or grits but more creamy, is made from corn meal and okras. It is traditionally served with steamed flying fish in a tomato-based sauce.

Barbados is an architectural delight of old and new, with history and tradition preserved and repeated through the years. St. Nicholas Abbey in St. Peter and Drax Hall in St. George are two of the oldest buildings in Barbados, built in the 1650s, and stand as proud examples of the Jacobean tradition. The more modest chattel house was designed to be easily dismantled and moved to a neighboring plantation when the owner changed jobs. Ornate fretwork is a distinguishing feature of these wooden homes, and many have been meticulously preserved and maintained. Briana shared a painting of her grandparents' Chatel House.
The history of Barbados is rich. The first indigenous people were Amerindians (Arawaks) who arrived there from Venezuela. Artifacts and evidence point to settlement sometime around 1623 B.C. In 1200, the Arawaks were conquered by the Caribs. In the 1600s, The Portuguese came to Barbados en route to Brazil. At this time, the Island was named Los Barbados (bearded-ones) by the Portuguese explorer Pedro a Campos. The first English ship arrived on May 14, 1625, under the command of Captain John Powell. The Island was claimed on behalf of King James I. From 1644-1700. The Dutch Merchants supplied Barbados with forced labor from West Africa to work on the sugar cane plantations. The enslaved people came from Sierra Leone, Guinea, Ghana, the Ivory Coast, Nigeria, and Cameroon. Slavery was abolished in 1834.

Barbados was first occupied by the British in 1627 and remained a British colony until sovereignty was granted in 1961. The Island gained complete independence on November 30, 1966 (Independence Day) and maintained ties to the Britain monarch represented in Barbados by the Governor General. On November 30, 2021, Barbados became a Republic. Barbados is getting ready to celebrate its first year with a President.


Browne’s Beach
Chattel House 2
Chattel House 1
Barbados 2