Barbadians or Bajans, are people born in Barbados. The description is even given to those who were born elsewhere and have at least one Barbadian parent with strong connections to the island.
There are approximately 270,000 people in Barbados, making it the most populated island in the Caribbean Sea. This number comprises of a diverse mixture of races which have been approximately accounted for as per the following: Approximately 80% are descendants of slavery and came from Africa. About 90% of the population is black and 25% have both African and British ancestry. The remaining 4% are of European-British descent.
Barbadians are generally a warm hearted, caring, thoughtful, talented, generous, productive, creative, self-disciplined, intelligent, proud and confident people who love to life live to the fullest. Whether it be liming or spending time with families, Barbadians truly enjoy staying connected with each other. Much of this is captured throughout the island as our people can be seen liming at rum shops, playing dominoes, spending time with family and friends or even getting together for an afternoon walk.
A real characteristic of bajan described in the book “Rogue in paradise” labels them as a rogue, so, what is rogue you could ask; well, they were outstanding characters that did outrageous things that we still talk about. They were independent-minded rebels. This book tells us the real nature of Barbadian.
Barbadian children are usually very filled with life and lots of energy. Always eager to learn, they have the ability to get involved without getting in the way. They take great pride in the neighborhoods in which they grow up, and even as adults, they have no difficulty in returning to visit their neighborhoods and ‘catch up’ with the older folks.
Family values are an integral aspect of the upbringing of Barbadian children. There is usually an air of protection that surrounds them as the island is small; so, most people know someone who knows someone else or they are simply related to each other.
The importance of education is instilled in the minds of children at an early age as a vehicle for economic and social stability. They are predominantly exposed to the teachings and upbringings of their immediate families and then the mandatory exposure of the school system which takes them from Nursery, to Primary, to Secondary and then on to Tertiary level.
The quality of education is so high that, despite the small size of the island, Barbados is able to produce a remarkable number of professionals, scholars, artists, musicians and sportsmen.
There is no end to the history, the stories and even the advice this group of Barbadians has to offer. ‘De ole people as they are affectionately known, have a wealth of knowledge stored that we wish we could somehow extract and document. Having learned life in what was known as ‘de hard days’, these older folks have been able to survive and live to tell. Old time remedies for the common cold are still very much alive as well as a host of many other remedies that they would have instinctively created along the way and are still very effective and needed today.
Barbados has a reputation for having one of the highest percentages of centenarians in the world. When interviewed they will be quick to tell you that they can only credit their longevity to the good Lord, the ground provisions they ate every day and the good life they lived. Celebrations take place whenever any of these treasured souls reach such a milestone. Relatives gather at the home of the centenarian and a visit is paid by the country’s Governor General, where a toast is made in recognition of their contribution to society and their very own families.
Life in Barbadian villages is quite an interesting experience. There is a community spirit that exists in these villages quite unlike the other developed heights and terraces on the island. ‘Life in de village’ as it is so often referred to has augured well for creating close-knit communities where neighbors have become each other’s keepers. Villagers (the name given to people who live within these environments) are renowned for leaving home and informing other neighbors where they are going and possibly what time they will return.
They share just about everything with each other. Whether it is baked bread, cooked food, clothes or even some good gossip. It is very common to see next door neighbors carrying on conversations with each other while hanging out through their windows or leaning over the railings on their patios.
Recreational activities make up a big part of these villages. Guys can be seen playing card games, on “the block” liming, on the pasture playing football, cricket and even having a drink or two at a nearby rum shop where dominoes are yet another major pastime. Whatever the circumstance, one thing is for sure, villagers always make the very best of what they have.
Barbadians are very spiritual and religious people who truly believe in getting up early on Sunday mornings and heading off to church. Some strongly believe that this is as a result of religion being at the helm of their daily lives even back in the days of the very first settlers to the island. The people of Barbados also incorporate religion into their festivities. One such festival is the Crop Over Festival, which was originally used as a way to thank God for the successful completion of yet another year’s crops.
There are more than 100 denominations in Barbados but the society is predominantly of Anglican persuasion.