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Must See

  • Junkanoo
Must See Junkanoo

A large street parade beginning in the early hours of the morning, Junkanoo is the National Festival of The Bahamas. It is an expression of Bahamian art and culture and represents the roots and heritage of The Bahamian People. Junkanoo originated in the days of slavery when slaves were given time off during the holidays and celebrated with African music, costumes and dancing. The festival is named after “John Canoe” an African tribal chief. He demanded the right to celebrate the holidays with his people even after being brought to the West Indies in slavery. Today, Junkanoo groups “rush” on a route that includes Bay Street, Shirley Street and other streets in the Downtown Nassau area in elaborate, handmade costumes. Music is played using goatskin drums, horns, cowbells, whistles and brass band instruments and dancers entertain thousands of spectators along the route. Parades are held annually on Boxing Day and New Year's Day and they are judged competitions where Junkanoo groups vie to be winners of the parades. The Bahamas also hosts Jr. Junkanoo which is an initiative through the Bahamian school system to foster an understanding of and love of Junkanoo, as students participate in their very own Junkanoo competition.

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