all the world is recovering from Christmas
- or quietly celebrating Boxing
Day on December 26th - this Bahamian festival kicks off with a loud, colorful
celebration that only begins in the wee hours of the morning ....
starts in the dark hours on December 26th on 2AM and lasts until sunrise. The
following week, it happens all over again, with another parade that lasts into
the light of the first day of the New
of the word Junkanoo is obscure, although legend has it that it comes from the French, L'inconnu ("unknown") in reference to the masks paraders
often hid behind.
Others say that the word has its origins in "John Canoe," a tribal chief who insisted on keeping his African heritage alive after being brought to the Bahamas in slavery.
probably began in the 16th or 17th century by slaves who were given permission to roam free and celebrate during Christmas time.
After slavery was abolished, Junkanoo (being no longer a celebration of freedom) almost disappeared as an annual ritual. However, a few island party lovers kept the tradition intact.
So much so that today Junkanoo is practically a Bahamian institution, sometimes criticized for being more of a spectator event and less an "all hands" participatory one by most islanders.
Still, Junkanoo is something to see...
much like Carnaval
and Mardi Gras, colorfully decked-out troupes compete for awards like "Most
Colorful, and "Most Artistically Designed" leading up to the top prize..."Best
the most famous Junkanoo parade troupes are the Saxons, Valley Boys, and "Roots"
who vie for prize money totaling into the thousands of dollars.
especially spectacular Junkanoo parade occurs in Nassau, with some of the best
views on Bay Street. However, equally jubilant parades are also held on Grand
Bahama, Eleuthera, Bimini and Abaco.
celebration has even spilled over to Bahama Independence Day when colorful Junkanoo
parades take place on some of the islands.
the Web, find out more about this special end-of-year celebration in the Bahamas
along with its music, its colorful costumes & parades, and the traditions
and history behind Junkanoo that make it so special....
More about Junkanoo around the Web:
- The official site for all things Junkanoo including extensive photo galleries,
event schedule, parade participants, history, FAQs and trivia, plus travel info
and overviews of all the islands from Abaco to the Out Islands.
Junkanoo - Good read on parades, groups, music and history, and check
out the 30-second video clips for a virtual taste of Junkanoo, from the Bahamas