Photo ReCap 1/30 Bahamas Junkanoo

1 of 30 Bahamas Junkanoo

Photo ReCap 1/30 Bahamas Junkanoo

Marked as the first Carnival of the years Junkanoo is a Bahamian Celebration. Much like carnival, Junkanoo is a street parade with music, dance, and costumes here ends where the similarities lie.

The history of The Bahamas Junkanoo Legend has it that you haven't needed an excuse to party in The Bahamas for well over 500 years. But ask folks here at the top of the Caribbean how The Bahamas Junkanoo Tradition got started and they'll all tell you a different story; with many believing it was established by John Canoe, a legendary West African Prince, who outwitted the English and became a local hero; and others suspecting it comes from the French ‘gens inconnus,’ which translates as 'unknown' or 'masked people'. Man playing a trumpet for the Junkanoo festivities in The Bahamas The most popular belief, however, is that it developed from the days of slavery. The influx of Loyalists in the late 18th Century brought many enslaved people who were given three days off at Christmas, which they celebrated by singing and dancing in colourful masks, travelling from house to house, often on stilts. Junkanoo nearly vanished after slavery was abolished but the revival of the festival in The Bahamas now provides entertainment for many thousands. What happens at Junkanoo Long before the spectacular 'rush-out', the exuberant Junkanoo dance troupes - groups of up to 1,000 - will have been busy rehearsing their dazzling routines. The musicians will have perfected the hypnotic rhythms they'll perform day and night on a cacophony of goatskin drums, cowbells, whistles and horns, and the imaginative costume designers will have worked non-stop to weave their own special magic with beautifully coloured crepe paper and cardboard. As the Junkanoo parade moves through the streets of downtown Nassau in the early hours of the morning (generally from 2am to 10am), the energy of the dancers and the beat of the music motivates the vast crowds of supporters and spectators to start moving in their seats, or on their feet, or in the trees, or on balconies - wherever they have found a spot from which to watch this soul-stirring festival! At the end of the famous Junkanoo procession, judges award cash prizes for the best music, best costume and best overall group presentation.


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