Hello Lovlies! Today’s focus is all about Culture and what makes the Caribbean unique. I know you’re thinking… yes, every place has a culture but the Caribbean culture is synonymous to its people and deeply rooted in its history.
According to Raymond Williams culture is a “particular way of life. which express certain meanings and values not only in art and learning but also in institutions and ordinary behaviour.” This defintion recognizes that culture is a generation of meaning.
Our Culture… the way of life.
Culture is a way of life shared through language. Our language…the diversities in which English is spoken in the Caribbean, leading to Creoles. The way meanings are produced and how they are communicated also plays into culture.
Additionally, from how we dress and style our hair, to our religious beliefs and politics all ties into what culture really is. The festivals that commemorate our heritage and never erases the experiences of the “where we were to where we are now”. For example, in Barbados (my homeland woop woop) we have ‘Crop Over’. It’s a six (6) week festival held from the last week in June to the first week in August. During this period we have different cultural activities ranging from cook-outs, to a showcase of national talent through fine and visual arts. Several musical competitions highlighting the ‘Creme de la Creme’ of our musicians and artistes and this all climaxes with a grand parade or street party known as Grand Kadooment.
You may say this is no different from Carnival in Brasil or the Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans, however I beg to differ. Despite its similarities, Crop Over can only be found in the Caribbean and only in Barbados. Crop Over began as a small celebration by our ancestors, after the final sugar canes were harvested and the crop season had ended. It was a reward, a chance to ‘free-up’ and enjoy themselves after toiling in the burning sun for days on end. Although the festival has expanded throughout the years, its history and origins has not changed. Research has revealed that many of the festivals in the Caribbean, all have their conceptualizations in pre-colonial and post-colonial events.
Our Music…From the pulsating rhythms of Soca music in Trinidad, to the scintillating Reggae beats in Jamaica, the tuk-band vibes in Barbados and the authentic Chutney in Guyana. We in the Caribbean are known for our music. Scholars view this as low culture, while other genres of music such as opera is viewed as high culture. If you travel to the farthest part of the world, you can find an island party by two things, its music and its food.
This video below is a snippet of Kadooment Day in Barbados and the song is a Soca song.
Our Food…Pudding and Souse, Doubles, Roti, Ackee and Salt Fish, Pepperpot (mmmm…I’m hungry just writing about this), are all apart of what defines us. These dishes and more are all unique to the Caribbean region. Nobody makes pudding souse like a Bajan (local term for a Barbadian), I may be biased here, however, no-one makes doubles like a Trini either (a Trinidadian). Each traditional dish is rooted in our ancestral heritage. While some dishes have slighted changed some of them have still remained the same through generations.
All that you have read up until now captures the very essence of the whole idea of culture. A set of norms, beliefs and values. When I think about culture I understand it to mean language, music, visual and performing arts, religious practices, patterns of eating and the way we dress. All of these elements are learned. Therefore, I can firmly say that culture is learned and not inherited.
1st Photo Credit: Island Boi Photography
2nd Photo Credit: http://www.lehwego.com
3rd Photo Credit: http://carnivalinfo.com
4th Photo Credit: https://www.researchgate.net
Video from http://www.youtube.com
This brings me to the end of this post. See you next time on my upcoming post about Globalization. Bye for now. 🙂