What Is the Traditional Dress of Barbados?

Barbados, an a independent nation within the British Commonwealth, does not have a “traditional dress.” In 1625, it was settled by the British Empire that soon after started bringing slaves from Africa to work the sugar cane plantations. Much of the culture of Barbados reflects the population’s African heritage, particularly their art. However, their choice of clothing is modern, western-style fashion.

Religion is very important in the lives of Barbadians and also plays a part in their fashion. The island is primarily Christian, and there are several denominations: Anglican, Roman Catholic, Jehovah’s Witness and Methodists. One denomination in particular, the Apostolic Spiritual Baptists, are known for their colorful turbans and gowns, which are worn by both men and women of all ages. Each of the colors represent a specific quality in the wearer.

Barbadians are known for inventive, colorful costumes, which they make to wear to holiday celebrations and festivals. They celebrate all major Christian holidays, as well as New Year’s Day, May Day, and other dates related to the independence and development of Barbados. The Crop Over festival is the island’s biggest celebration, occurring annually in July and August. This festival culminates in a large competition and judging of costumed bands.