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Culture & Identity of Barbados

Introduction

Barbadian Culture - Beach towels
Beach towels

Much of the way of life in Barbados reflects that of life in the United Kingdom; however the island lifestyle dominates the country and there is no mistaking the two. While many traditions, customs, architecture, and even social programs are modeled after that of the United Kingdom, Barbados's lifestyle begins with relaxation.

Time in Barbados is similar to much of the Caribbean in the sense that present company is always more important than leaving early to meet up with future acquaintances. However, more than most Caribbean island nations, the people tend to be more punctual in Barbados and there seems to be more "structure" to the lives of many people.

Work is fairly important to many people as regularly working hours are from about 8:00 am to about 5:00 pm. The available jobs in the country are quite varied, although about three quarters of all jobs are in the services sector, including tourism. Work provides routine to life for many people as does school, which follows the British school system.

Although life in Barbados seems more organized, timely, and work-oriented than many other Caribbean island nations, life in Barbados still begins with family, friends, and community.

Identity

The people of Barbados tend to identify as being Barbadian, which has deep roots on the island and has a much stronger colonial history and local culture than many islands in the Caribbean. This identity is closely tied to being from the island and it also includes the history of the people, both past and present. The island was colonized by the British and numerous aspects of British culture are present in Barbados today, although most people have very little British ancestry today. This British history has intertwined historic African and Caribbean cultural aspects to create a culture that mixes Caribbean foods and music, with British sports, architecture, and food to give the island a unique feel and the people a distinct identity.

This page was last updated: December, 2013<