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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Independence in Barbados- Symbols & National Emblems

Hey all! It's a very special month for residents of Barbados. November is the month of independence! In this post, I will be describing the national embellems, while in another post I will speak about the delicacies consumed and festivals which occur during Independence.

Around 1961, Barbados had been granted internal autonomy, thus making the attainment full independence from Britain was an easier task, and on the rainy night of 30th November 1966, Barbados was granted constitutional freedom from Great Britain, our Mother country, thanks to Mr. Errol Walton Barrow.

The British Queen acts as the Head of State, represented in the island by the Governor General, however the real power lies in the hands of the Prime Minister and his Parliamentary Government.

In 1966, a national competition was held in order to select a flag, pledge and national anthem for the soon independent Barbados. From this competition, we emerged with our beloved aquamarine (blue), gold and black flag and a host of proud Barbadian embellems.

The National Flag of Barbados:

The national flag was designed by a local art teacher, Mr. Grantley Prescod, whose entry was chosen over the 1029 others in the competition.
From our childhood, Barbadians are thought that the aquamarine panels of the flag represent our beautiful sea and sky, while the gorgeous gold is symbolic of our golden sand and the bright sun which shines on our shores year long. The broken trident is that of King Neptune, the mythical Sea god, and celebrates our "break" from the Mother country, Britain.

The Coat of Arms of Barbados:

The Coat of Arms of Barbados, was ordered by Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth II on a Royal visit to the island on 2nd February 1966. Previously, Barbados' only other official seal was the Seal of the Colony (Colonial Badge).

The Coat of Arms was designed Mr. Neville Clarke Connell, and includes a golden shield of arms bearing the Bearded Fig Tree which was very common at the time of the British settlement and two Pride of Barbados flowers (the National Flower of Barbados). The Bearded Fig Tree (Fiscus Citrifolia) was actually what gave Barbados its name. (A Portuguese reference: "Los Barbados" which means "the bearded ones" a name given from a species of the Bearded Fig-Tree.)

On each side of the shield, there is a symbolic animal. On the right, a Dolphin (Mahi Mahi), symbolic of the thriving fishing industry, while on the left, the pelican represents a small island named Pelican Island which existed off Barbados and which is now incorporated into the Deep Water Harbour Development.
At the top of the shield is a helmet surrounded by a wreath, from which an arm emerges. The hand is that of a Barbadian holding two crossed pieces of sugar cane symbolic of the Sugar Industry. This saltire cross represents the cross upon which Saint Andrew was crucified and Saint Andrew's Day,which is also the day on which Barbados celebrates Independence.
The banner bears the motto of Barbados, "Pride and Industry".

The Coat of Arms is the official Government seal of Barbados.

The National Flower of Barbados- Pride of Barados:

Another beautiful image of the Pride of Barbados

This flower blooms most of the year and most varieties are a fiery red and yellow although other colour variations exist. The plant is a usually molded into a hedge as it is a shrub, but it can grow up to 15ft tall. The leaves are composed of samll collective leaflets.
The flower is about 1 ½ inches across and has 5 large petals and 1 petal much smaller than the others. It has 10 long stamens with coloured filaments and anthers at the tips. They are also pistils projecting from the center of the flower, with 1 filament bearing a stigma and is the style.

The National Pledge:

I pledge allegiance to my country Barbados and to my flag,

To uphold and defend their honour,
And by my living, to do credit to my nation,
Wherever I go.

The national pledge of Barbados was written by Mr. Lester Vaughan, a former educator and Educational officer of Primary schools. The words of our pledge embodies the feelings that should be expressed by every Bajan, no matter where in the world they are.

The National Anthem:

Verse 1

In plenty and in time of need

When this fair land was young
Our brave forefathers sowed the seed
From which our pride has sprung
A pride that makes no wanton boast
Of what it has withstood
That binds our hearts from coast to coast
The pride of nationhood
We loyal sons and daughters all
Do hereby make it known
These fields and hills beyond recall
Are now our very own
We write our names on history's page
With expectations great
Strict guardians of our heritage
Firm craftsmen of our fate

Verse 2 
The Lord has been the people's guide
For past three hundred years
With Him still on the people's side
We have no doubts or fears
Upward and onward we shall go,
Inspired, exulting, free,
And greater will our nation grow
In strength and unity

The music of the National Anthem of Barbados was composed by Mr. C. Van Roland Edwards, however in 1967, Inspector Prince Cave of the Royal Barbados Police Band re-arranged the music of the Anthem giving it more harmony while keeping the original tune. Mr. Irvin Burgie wrote the lyrics of the National Anthem.

Anytime the National Anthem is played civilians should stand at attention and the men should remove all headgear. 
The National Anthem is usually played :
  1. At the beginning of all public performances.
  2. For the Monarch (members of the Royal family)
  3. For a foreign Monarch, Head of State or member of a reigning foreign Imperial or Royal family.
  4. For a salute at official ceremonial occasions during the arrival and departure of:
    • For the Governor General.
    • For Governor Generals of other independent Commonwealth Countries.
    • For Governors of associated States
    • For High Commissioners of Offices administering a Government of a dependent Territory within the Commonwealth Countries
The Anthem can also be played at the end of public functions and at toasts during official functions.
I hope you enjoyed learning a bit about my little island, there should be a next post coming soon about the events which go on during this month and the special foods.

References: (As if this is an essay hahaha, school takes its toll)

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