As the official start of the Crop Over season gets under way this Saturday, Barbadians have been urged to ???open their minds??? to the history of the festival.

This plea has come from veteran Crop Over promoter and current Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at the National Cultural Foundation (NCF), Cranston Browne, who has called on persons to reflect on the festival???s origins and the ways our forefathers would have celebrated it, in spite of the challenges faced in those early years.

Mr. Browne was delivering the welcome address on behalf of the Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth, Stephen Lashley, at the 40th Anniversary Crop Over Lecture entitled: Bumba-Tuk, Kaiso & Soca: Reviewing 40 years of the Sweetest Summer Festival, at the Queen???s Park Steel Shed on Wednesday evening.

The NCF head told his audience that we must think how the festival has evolved through the years ???to become the successful modern festival that it is today???.

???Think of what makes it a truly unique festival, of its many components which have earned it the name ???More than a Carnival???,??? he stated.

The veteran band leader pointed out that persons must come to understand why Crop Over was far more important than just merely an occasion for revelry and partying.

???Crop Over is a very significant component of the annual Season of Emancipation, that period of the year when we acknowledge and commemorate a number of extremely critical dates in our country???s history. We should therefore take the opportunity to celebrate and salute our country and the long hard journey to where Barbados is today.

???[Tonight] we celebrate all that this national festival has done for Barbados, and the extent to which it has had an impact on our social and economic development,??? he underscored.

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