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Culture & Identity of Antigua & Barbuda

Introduction

Antiguan and Barbudan Architecture - Street shop
Street shop

Antigua & Barbuda are desert islands that make farming nearly impossible as most people find jobs in other industries. These occupations lend a time frame and schedule to most people's lives, but socialization tends to delay timing as people are always more important than start times. None-the-less, work schedules and income greatly contribute to the way of life on the islands simply because they occupy so much time.

For many people jobs are found in the services sector, with tourism being among the largest providers of services jobs. Many of the people working in these positions have somewhat regular hours and many also get paid quite well. There is a much smaller number of people that work in agriculture and industry, but these positions also exist.

For most of the people work has a fairly regular schedule, giving the people a daily and weekly routine. However, work is only undertaken by most people in order to make money and to support their family.

Free time in Antigua & Barbuda is often translated to mean socialization time with friends, neighbors, or family. This is especially true since most of the people live in more rural areas so conversation and socialization becomes even more important when given the opportunity. This makes local shops, markets, and churches gathering points for the people where family and community come together. Despite work providing jobs, money, and routine, it is these places where people gather that seems to be at the heart of the lifestyle.

Identity

The people of Antigua & Barbuda generally first identify as either Antiguans or Barbudans, which is a geographically-defined term that dictates what island the individual is from. They also identify in this way to represent their citizenship. As a people unite by commonalities and history, not necessarily ethnicities, the identity of the people tends to revolve around anything that can be used to unite the people and this begins with their island and nationality, then continues on to their local foods and culture.

This search for commonalities also includes slavery, so another important aspect of this identity for some people is skin color. The people generally consider being of African descent as an important aspect of their identity, although there are numerous people of other complexions that are accepted as being Antiguans or Barbudans, although these people must also be born on the islands.

This page was last updated: December, 2013