JUNKANOO: A UNIQUELY BAHAMIAN CHRISTMAS TRADITION

With the festive season fast approaching we’re gearing up for the holidays at Bahamas Realty, decorating the office in sparkly Bahamas Blues and planning for our annual Christmas Luncheon – seaside, of course.

Are you dreaming of a white-sand Christmas? Swap the snowmen for sandcastles and scarves for swimsuits for a Christmas in Paradise.

In The Bahamas, Christmas Day is a public holiday. Many of the traditions are the same as many other countries – gift-giving, a family feast, a Christmas tree covered in twinkle lights. However, the Bahamas has one notable celebration unique to our shores: Junkanoo!

Junkanoo is a renowned street festival held during the Christmas season. The parade features numerous groups of dancers and floats in elaborate handmade costumes ‘rushing’ to the boisterous sounds of goatskin drums, whistles, brass instruments and cowbells. Each year, Junkanoo takes place in Downtown Nassau between the hours of 1:00a.m. – 9:00a.m. on Boxing Day (the day after Christmas) and New Year’s Morning.

While Junkanoo’s origins are unknown, its roots can be traced back to West Africa.

The most popular legend states that the name originated from John Canoe, an African tribal chief who demanded the right to celebrate with his people even after being brought to the West Indies in slavery,  During pre -and post -slavery days, Christmas was the greatest time for celebration in the Bahamas, and Junkanoo was the highlight.  

Bahamas Government

Today, the cultural event has grown into a much anticipated competitive street parade, where groups of hundreds, and sometimes thousands of members compete for prizes for music, dancing and costuming. The most coveted prize is that of the Best Junkanoo Group – a title carried with pride by the group members and their ardent supporters for the year.

If you are in The Bahamas for the holiday season we recommend securing tickets early for this spectacular celebration of national pride. For a taste of Junkanoo watch the below video with highlights from the 2019 New Year’s Day Junkanoo Parade. Be sure to watch with the volume on to hear the distinct rhythm of Junkanoo music.

Whether The Bahamas is your primary residence or one of many, we hope your heart will be full, your home happy and your loved ones close. From Bahamas Realty to all our friends near and far, happy holidays! 

Next up: 4 Steps to Owning a Piece of Paradise. Your guide to buying your dream home in The Bahamas.

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