Junkanoo - a Bahamian festival
(from Trinidad c/o New Providence, Nassau)
Junkanoo in the Bahamas- December 26 every year
Junkanoo is a Bahamian festival that occurs during the dark hours of morning on the 26th of December and again bringing in its first hours of light on the first day of the new year. Thousands dance through Bay Street, Nassau's town center, like a wild ocean of colour, while deep goat skin rhythms reverberate off the surrounding walls and cow bells chatter over the singing of brass horns.
The sidewalk like a snake comes to life twisting blacks and browns while balconies and roof tops sway under the rhythmic feet of onlookers. There is a timeless sense, a feeling inside that is so vital that even the deaf feel to move. And as though possessed, these God-like cardboard sculptures dive and rise to the awesome music that lifts their spirits beyond the flesh." (courtesy - c2000 M. Govan & E. Robinson)
To experience Bahamian culture and art, you should make plans to attend Junkanoo. The Bahamian festival of Junkanoo is an energetic, colourful parade of brightly costumed people gyrating and dancing to the rhythmic accompaniment of cowbells, drums and whistles. The celebration occurs on December 26 and January 1 -- beginning in the early hours of the morning (2:00 a.m.) and ending at dawn.
Junkanoo is reminiscent of New Orleans' Mardi Gras and Rio de Janeiro's Carnival, but it is distinctly Bahamian and exists nowhere else. Parade participants -- arranged in groups of up to 1,000 -- are organised around a particular theme. Their costumes, dance and music reflect this theme. At the end of the Junkanoo procession, judges award cash prizes. The three main categories for the awards are: best music, best costume and best overall group presentation.
The most spectacular Junkanoo parade occurs in Nassau. However, you can also experience it on Grand Bahama, Eleuthera, Bimini and Abaco. It's held on Boxing Day (December 26) and New Year's Day (January 1) from 2:00 a.m. until 8:00 a.m.
If you wish to experience the cultural festival of Junkanoo, plan ahead and arrive early. In Nassau, some of the best views are upstairs on Bay Street, or on the street-side bench seats, which you may reserve in advance