The following facts about Barbados truly depict the quaint yet charming nature of the island Barbados.
We hope that you enjoy reading them and that they help you to understand a few of the peculiarities of our island.
The National dish of Barbados is Cou-Cou and Flying Fish.
Cou-cou is a dish made with cornmeal and okras, in much the same way that it has been made in Africa for centuries. It is accompanied by flying fish prepared in an aromatic sauce of tomato, onion, chives, thyme, fresh pepper, garlic and other herbs. Together they make a delicious and wholesome combination.
It is good luck to have a mongoose scurry across the road in front of you.
Sometime during your stay you are more than likely to see a Barbados mongoose scurry across your path. The Mongoose is a slender, furry creature of about 24 inches from its head to the end of its bushy, squirrel-like tail. It has a brown coat and looks a bit like a Weasel or a Stoat. They were brought to Barbados from India in 1879 to combat the problem of the increasing rat population and the threat that rodent posed to the sugar industry. Unfortunately for the planters they had made one big mistake. The rat is a nocturnal animal while the mongoose likes to go foraging during the day, so they rarely cross each other's path.
Chattel houses are wooden dwellings peculiar to the island of Barbados.
These wooden dwellings are peculiar to Barbados. Chattel is a man's moveable possession, hence chattel houses are 'moveable houses'. Barbadian chattel houses were traditionally constructed on blocks, so that if the owner had to move to another area, then he would literally take his house with him. In time a very distinct and increasingly ornate design evolved, making these houses uniquely attractive.
Flying fish jump out of the water and can glide for 30 to 50 metres!
Barbados is hailed as "The land of the flying fish". This interesting fish abounds in our waters and has become something of a national emblem as well as a staple part of our diet. Other popular local fish are dolphin, kingfish, sailfish, barracuda, tuna, red snapper and chub. Incidentally, whenever you see "dolphin" on a menu, please don't think that you are about to eat "flipper" and his friends. Dolphin in Barbados is an ugly but delicious fish, not a porpoise, otherwise known as mahi-mahi.
November 30th 2013 marks the 47th year of Barbadian independence from Britain.
Barbados became independent from the UK on 30th November 1966. Today we remain a commonwealth with Queen Elizabeth II as our titular head of state. Independence celebrations are important here on the island and begin at the end of August. It has become a tradition that all the roundabouts on the island are decorated in blue, yellow and black, the colours of the national flag. At night, these roundabouts light up the streets and are a wonderful symbol of Independence. The official lighting ceremony takes place on the 1st of November. On the actual Independence Day, there is a parade through the streets. The venue, however, changes from year to year depending on the weather.
There were originally 400 stand pipes installed across the island of Barbados.
Until recent times the stand pipe was very much a focal point in Barbadian village life. In every populated area the Government installed a stand pipe where people could go to collect free water for their household needs. Thus the stand pipe became a busy centre of activity and the venue for a great deal of social interaction - from gossip, to courtship, to political discussion, to confrontation. With the introduction of running water to virtually every Barbadian home, many of the stand pipes are no longer in use. However, happily, there are enough of them still in operation for you to stop off for a drink while out driving.
Barbados was originally named Los Barbados, meaning 'the bearded ones'.
The many fig trees on the island had long hanging, aerial roots. To Pedro Campos, the Portuguese explorer who sighted the island in 1536, these roots made the trees look like they had beards, hence the name 'Los Barbados.'
The Barbados National flower is the Pride of Barbados.
The official name is Caesalpinia pulcherrima. These flowers are generally red, yellow or orange and can be found all year across the island. You will find that they add a wonderful splash of colour wherever they grow.
Mount Gay Barbados Rum is over 300 years old.
Mount Gay Rum was first produced in 1703. This makes it one of the oldest rum brands in the world. Mount Gay Barbados Rum is sold in over 66 countries, the US being the number one market. Some consider Mount Gay Barbados Rum to be the most famous brand of fine rum in the world. Mount Gay Rum Distilleries sponsors over 110 regattas worldwide. The famous red Mount Gay regatta hats are considered prize possessions and many people will offer hundreds of dollars to obtain one. You can see many of these hats on display at the Mount Gay Rum Refinery here in Barbados but the staff will tell you that these are not for sale, no matter how much you are willing to offer.
Barbados has 10 National Heroes.
Barbados has elected 1 Premier and 7 Prime Ministers.
Arguably the world's greatest ever cricketer, Sir Garfield St.Auburn Sobers began his life in the parish of St.Michael in Barbados.
Written by: Brett Callaghan