Antigua and Barbuda

Antigua and Barbuda Flag

Culture Name
Antiguan; Antiguan creole; creole; Barbudan

The people of modern-day Antigua were born from an ancestry of slavery. More precisely, the people who presently inhabit Antigua are from a lineage of black slaves who were chosen and bred by their British masters for desirable characteristics. As a result, many of the people living on Antigua and Barbuda share the same family names, and are of very tall and strong stature. In a census taken on the island in recent years, approximately 96 percent of Antigua’s population declared to be of African descent. The African influence on the island’s culture is seen in many aspects of everyday life on Antigua, including its music and language.

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Antigua and Barbuda is a Caribbean nation in the Lesser Antilles island chain. The country is a second home for many of the pan-Caribbean genres of popular music, and has produced stars in calypso, soca, steeldrum, zouk and reggae. Of these, steeldrum and calypso are the most integral parts of modern Antiguan popular music; both styles are imported from the music of Trinidad and Tobago.

The population of Antigua and Barbuda is mostly descended from West Africans brought to the Caribbean as slaves. Thus, the music of Antigua and Barbuda is largely African in character, and has only felt a limited influence from European styles.

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Antigua and Barbuda cuisine refers to the cuisines of the Caribbean islands Antigua and Barbuda. The national dish is fungie (pronounced “foon-jee”) and pepper pot. Fungie is a dish that’s similar to Italian Polenta, made mostly with cornmeal. Other local dishes include ducana, seasoned rice, saltfish and lobster (from Barbuda). There are also local confectionaries which include: sugarcake, fudge, raspberry and tamarind stew and peanut brittle.

Although these foods are indigenous to Antigua and Barbuda and to some other Caribbean countries, the local diet has diversified and now includes local dishes of Jamaica, such as jerk meats, or Trinidad, such as Roti, and other Caribbean countries. Shawarma, an Arab dish has become popular as well, beings sold out of Arab shops along with kebabs and gyros. Chinese restaurants have also begun to become more mainstream. The supermarkets sell a wide variety of food, from American to Italian. Meals may vary depending on household income levels.

Although English is the official language of Antigua, a large number of islanders speak a Creole that is heavily influenced by African structures. Unlike other dialects found in the region, such as the French-influenced Creole of Haiti or Spanish Creole heard on several Caribbean islands, Antiguan Creole uses many words of West African origin. These words are based on the different tribes that were brought to the island. Many of the proverbs that are used by Antigua’s people are derivatives of African sayings.

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Antigua’s architecture was highly influenced by the baroque, with its own personal touches. Also, the buildings have been built with the area’s seismic activity in mind. This new building construction included the use of thick walls and columns that did not follow proportions, but became thicker and shorter. Despite the use of heavy and thick columns, most could not withstand the number of earthquakes they sustained. The colonial constructions are classified according to their use: religious, domestic, or civil.

Whilst horse racing at Cassada Gardens is a huge draw, the Big Boat Regatta and a must-see event is the Antigua Sailing Week while an international crowd-puller, in Antigua is cricket. Antigua and Barbuda’s cricketing hero, Sir Vivian Richards, is quite simply a living legend.

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