Barbados People - Traditions, Language, Local Food

You will find that Barbados people, or Bajans, are extremely friendly, outgoing and welcoming people, and tourists are drawn to their hospitality.

  • Local People in Barbados


    A little more than 80% of the Barbados people is Christian and more than half of it belongs to the Church of England. Almost 80% of Barbadian people are from an African descent; however, there is a high percentage of people that are from the European descent as well. Barbados offers its citizens free education up until university and is considered to have very high literacy rates, which means that most of Barbados' population attend school and are very successful in their education. The literacy rates add up close to 100% and Bajans are considered as one of the world's most educated people.

    Barbados is home to what they call "chattel" houses. These houses were built by and for the working class people. "Chattel" means movable, and in case the people that lived in those houses were fired from their job, they had to pack up fairly quickly and move away from that land, taking all of their belongings and the house with them. Having said that, the reason the tenants had to move their houses was because the land belonged to either their landlord or the employer of where they held their job. There are a lot of these chattels on the Barbados land, some of them serve as government buildings, some are still occupied by the people. Those that are still occupied by the citizens are now connected to a sewer system and electricity cables.


    Photos by Shardalow, Loozrboy

    People in Barbados are smart and know exactly how to take care of their finances. They rarely have any mortgages and if their house needs an improvement or a renovation they pay for it with their own money. You will find that some of the population lives in small, sometimes dull houses, that have become rusty with time, but inside are very clean and well taken care of.

    Back when the Barbados people were not as educated and their economy was not as progressive, women that were raising the kids by themselves had to depend on their children for bringing income into the household. Some of the financial backing was coming from the fathers that had to pay child support and some was coming from the children themselves who performed various chores and small jobs outside of the house. Fathers who left their families could not expect their children to pay support if they didn't maintain a relationship with the children's mother. Women who were dependant on their men in their youth found that by the time the men reached the middle age, they were starting to depend on their woman.

    Traditionally tracing back to the old days of Barbados people, boys and girls were given the household chores as early as five years old. Women were dedicated to stay home and take care of the family, while men were expected to provide financial support for their families. Even though boys and girls had certain responsibilities around the house, mothers spoiled their sons more. Boys had a privilege to stay late out at night, their work was not as extended as the girls', and they had more leisure time. The boys were brought up in a way so they would grow up to be strong and fearless men that would be able to physically protect their mothers.

    However, once more job opportunities became available and women started to get into the work force, the old family customs and traditions for Barbados people had changed.

    Local Language in Barbadose

    The official language in Barbados is English. Education is taught in English but the 2 other major languages taught in schools are Spanish and French. In small villages and in some informal settings you might hear locals speak in the Bajan dialect amongst themselves. Bajan dialect has different pronunciation of some words as well as at times somewhat different grammatical orthography. It is a combination of British English and some West African languages.

    Barbados Food

    Barbados is known for its' vast variety of dishes in its' cuisine. The rich and exquisite tastes add a delectable and savory touch to many dishes Barbados has to offer.

    The national and the most staple dish for Barbados people is called "Cou Cou", which is a blend of okra and cornmeal, that are mixed together with salt, pepper and a mustard based on hot pepper sauce, that Barbados island produces. Cou Cou is served with flying fish which is another national symbol in Bajan cuisine.

    Barbados people enjoy a wide variety of ingredients in their appetizing meals that include meats such as chicken, pork, black belly sheep that is grown locally, beef, seafood and fish, and are all generously supplied with Bajan very own seasoning and freshly picked vegetables. One of the very loved and traditional Bajan dishes is called Pudding and Souse, which is a dish of pickled pork and sweet potatoes, an enjoyment everyone must experience.

    Breadfruit is a traditional Bajan fruit, that can be found growing on trees on almost every corner on the island. It is very popular and has a very unique taste. Locals love to indulge in steamed flying fish complimented with the breadfruit on the side or satisfy their taste buds with Conkies. Conkies is corn flour mixed with spices, supar, pumpkin, coconut raisins or cherries and steamed in the banana leaf. A very yummy desert that should definitely be tasted in order to inhale Bajan culture.

    When in Barbados, try any of their famously traditional dishes along with the Rum Punch, that is made with Barbados' own Mount Gay Rum. You might be tempted to drink more and more of this spectacular drink, but remember the rum from Barbados is much stronger than any of the other cocktail drinks.

    Barbados Population

    The population statistics in Barbados is calculated to be at 284,864 as of mid-year in 2016. The median age on the island is 38.8 years old, where approximately 31.8% of the population in Barbados is Urban. The Barbados people are predominantly black (92.4%) or mixed (3.1%).