Junkanoo is a unique Bahamian cultural expression that dates back to the days of slavery. It is celebrated in the form of an annual costume parade held on December 26 and January 1. The celebration includes thousands of Bahamians from all walks of life who come together and produce artful costumes, goombay music and dance routines which are displayed with great fanfare in streets throughout the islands of the Bahamas. Most of the major Bahamian islands celebrate Junkanoo with the largest and most popular parades occurring in downtown Nassau where revelers party it up along several blocks on Bay Street and Shirley Street.
Junkanoo groups party from midnight until shortly after dawn to the music of cowbells, drums and various horns. They compete for cash prizes dressed in costumes made from cardboard covered in tiny shreds of colorful tissue paper. Junkanoo offers Bahamians the opportunity to celebrate themselves, their freedom and their past in a visible and artistic realm.
Visitors throughout the year who miss the Junkanoo street parades can get a sense of the cultural extravaganza at the Junkanoo Expo located at the Prince George Dock in the heart of Nassau.
IMAGES VIA: beatinharmony, ebodie, threecee and Seth Battis on flickr