Saturday, December 26, 2009

Junkanoo Festival - held on Boxing Day in the Bahamas



Junkanoo is a national festival in The Bahamas, held in the early morning hours of Boxing Day, the day after Christmas. During the Junkanoo parade, a procession of dancers in brightly colored costumes “rush” through the streets, singing and making music on goat-skin drums, cowbells, conch shell horns and whistles.



Today is Pink Saturday and I want to thank Beverly of How Sweet the Sound for hosting this fun event. Please be sure to drop by How Sweet the Sound where you’ll find links to other Pink Saturday bloggers.

The revelers, both young and old, spend all year pasting their costumes together, many of which are made out of cardboard covered in colorful crepe paper.


Spectators join in the celebration, singing and dancing to make it a big street party.


The origin of the word Junkanoo is unknown. Some say it comes from the French word “L-inconnu,” meaning the unknown in reference to the masks worn by the parade participants.


Others believe it was named for John Canoe, an African tribal chief who demanded the right to celebrate with his people during the 16th and 17th centuries after being brought to the West Indies as slaves.


The slaves were given a special holiday during Christmas when they could leave the plantations to celebrate and be with their families with African dance, music and costumes. After emancipation, they continued the tradition and Junkanoo has evolved from its simple origins to organized parades with intricate costumes and music.


These photos were taken at the Junkanoo festival on Green Turtle Cay in Abaco, in the northern Bahamas.

24 comments:

  1. Sam, how wonderful! I can almost hear the music and the laughter. This reminds me of Carnival. But it looks a lot warmer, of course! Thanks for posting this.

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  2. Oh the work that must have went into the details of these fabulous gorgeous costumes. Must be such a lovely sight to watch. Lovely choice of pictures to share. I hope you had a most wonderful holiday!

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  3. Happy Boxing Day, Sam! What great photos, and such a wonderful glimpse of a holiday celebration I might otherwise not see. It really brightened up this dreary day in the Northeast.

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  4. Sounds like a wonderful celebration! We are heading out for a more restrained Boxing Day at the home of a Brit friend -- eggnog and mince pies will be on hand but no conchs and drums and bright costumes, alas!

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  5. wow this is cool I wish I was there today have a great weekend Sam

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  6. My friends are leaving for the Islands for a two week stint away from the cold here...you must be in heaven there with all the culture surrounding you!

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  7. I've learned so much from your blog and travels with you. Thanks for the Bahamas trip and a celebration new to me...Junkanoo...really like that name! Thanks for visiting my 12th Pink Saturday!...Sue

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  8. I get to "see" places through your blog--what an exciting life!

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  9. I've never heard of Junkanoo before, so I enjoyed learning of it. Makes me wonder if hundreds of years from now, historians will contemplate the origins of the Bonaroo festival:)

    Great pictures and wonderful explanation.

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  10. How wonderful - this is all new to me and it seems so joyful. Such a grand way to celebrate Boxing Day. It beats going to the stores for even more things.

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  11. The costumes are simply wonderful! I love their brightness!! Happy Holidays and Happy pink week!

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  12. Great post. I love learning about other cultures and the events in their lives! This was a fun parade!

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  13. How festive!! I would LOVE to travel to the Bahamas and dance my cares away at the Junkanoo Festival!! :D

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  14. What a wonderful festival-so colorful and fun.

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  15. Sam, this was such an interesting post. The costumes are so colorful and imaginative.

    Happy Pink Saturday and Happy Holidays.

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  16. Wonderful Boxing Day celebration,
    thank you for sharing it with us.
    Dreaming of warmer climes, yes,
    I'd love to be there right now!

    Happy Holidays! :-)

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  17. I'm often intrigued by the origins of such spectacular festivities, there often seems to be a couple of versions. It looks like everyone is having a great time.

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  18. Now THAT looks like a celebration. Love all the colorful costumes and how happy everybody looks. What a fun tradition.

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  19. Stunning and colourful. Have a blessed season.

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  20. What a glorious & festive festival this is, Sam!! Lovely!!

    Thanks for sharing this experience with us!

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  21. Such an interesting post! Thanks so much for sharing it. I would dearly love to be there right about now...not a winter person! I have the link up to start the Arkansas Bloggers group. It's not a finished product by any means, but it is a start. Come link up and help me spread the word. Happy New Year!

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  22. Hi Sam

    There is a section of Brooklyn, NY that hosts a Carribean Day parade for ex-pats every year. All the participants dress in very elaborate and colorful costumes. Lots of steel drum music plays and there is island foods for sale. It's really a wonderful sight to see!

    Wishing you a very happy, healthy, and prosperous 2010!

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  23. Happy New Year, Sam. I left something for you on my blog....

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Sam