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The Bahama Junkanoo Festival

Date Added: November 01, 2010 08:24:43 PM
Author: Admin

To experience the Bahamas culture, the Jankanoo Festival celebrates an obscure tradition that no one is quite clear on, but on December 26th, Boxing Day and on January 1st, New Years Day, Junkanoo involves colorful parades, traditional music, energetic dancers, drummers, cowbellers and great, fanciful costumes. Ask a Bahamas luxury hotel what the Jankanoo Festival is for and they say they're not sure, except all the rooms are booked full for the event.

One of the best places to see Junkanoo is on Bay Street in Nassau, south of the Straw Market. But, plan ahead if you wish to experience this amazing cultural festival, as mentioned above, the hotel rooms fill up quickly, especially during Christmas and for New Years. Not to worry however, Junkanoo is celebrated across the Bahamas, the Turks and Caicos Islands.

There are two possible origins of the word 'Junkanoo', the more popular of the two is that the word is derived from 'John Canoe', an African tribal chief during the 17th century. He asked the government of the time if he could celebrate with his people who were brought to the West Indies as slaves. During Christmas, Bahamian slaves were given a few days off, allowing them to leave the plantations to spend time with their families and celebrate the reunion with music, dance and costumes. The second, less popular origin of Junkanoo is that it's French version "L'inconnu', which means 'The Unknown' referring to people wearing disguises and thus being 'unknown'.

No matter the origin of Junkanoo, it's still a great way to experience Bahamian culture and a good representation of slave's celebrating freedom.

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