The main religion in Barbados is Christianity. Most
Bajans are Protestant and belong to the Anglican, Methodist or Pentecostal
churches. There is a small minority of Roman Catholics. Some Bajans are
Rastafarians or Spiritual Baptists.
The historical influence of the Church of England is evident in the administrative structure of Barbados. The island is divided into eleven parishes. Ten are named after saints and the eleventh is called Christchurch. Large congregations attend church on Sundays, and Sunday is respected as a day of rest and prayer. Good Friday, Easter and Christmas are important religious holidays.
|Codrington College, located in the parish of St. John, is an Anglican theological college. Priests from Barbados and other Caribbean islands are trained here. It is the oldest Anglican theological college in the Western Hemisphere, established in 1670. Rastafarianism took root in Jamaica and spread to the other West Indian islands. The name comes from Ras (meaning "Prince") Tafari, who was crowned king of Ethiopia in 1930 and became the Emperor Haile Selassie. Rastafarians believe that Haile Selassie was a Messiah, and his coming to power was a sign that blacks would one day be liberated from oppression. Rastafarians' beliefs draw on both Jewish and Christian traditions. They abstain from alcohol, avoid business dealings, maintain a simple lifestyle with few possessions, and take pride in their African heritage.|
The Spiritual Baptist religion has been influenced by
both African religious traditions and Christian traditions. This movement
originated in Trinidad and was brought to Barbados in 1957 by Bishop
Granville Williams. Members wear gowns and adorn their heads with colourful
cloths. Bajans sometimes call them "tie heads." Their ceremonies are lively,
with hand clapping, hymn singing and foot stomping.
A small number of Bajans practise obeah, a form of witchcraft. Obeah has its roots in African spiritualism and mythology, and in the experience of slavery, when witchcraft was the only power available to an oppressed people.