Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Junkanoo: A Bahamian Style Holiday Celebration



Christmas in the Bahamas means family, feasting and Junkanoo. A spectacular festival of dancing, music and colorful costumed people, Junkanoo represents the essence of Bahamian culture. Held on Boxing Day (December 26, my B-Day!) and New Year's Day (January 1) from 2AM until dawn,  the celebration features meticulously designed costumes worn by groups of 500-1000. Revelers dress and dance according to a top secret theme revealed only on Junkanoo Day.  Music makes up the most significant and distinctive aspect of Junkanoo.  The ryhthms of goatskin drums (Goombay,) copper cow bells and whistles, accompanied  by a brass section drive the frentic and joyful atmosphere of the festival.



Costumes can take close to a year to complete and typically include an elaborate headress, shoulder and skirt. Most of the designs are created from crepe paper intricately glued to fabric, cardboard or wood.



Groups compete for cash prizes in the categories of  best costume, best music and best overall presentation. The winning costumes are preserved for display in the Junkanoo Museum in Nassau.



No Christmas season celebration is complete without Santa and the jolly Junkanoo participant above delivers a totally Bahamian version of St. Nick.  Happy Holidays to everyone!

12 comments:

Tiffany said...

I love the costumes at the junkanoo parade.

Happy Holidays.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

What wonderful colour. A super parade.

Happy Christmas.

A Cuban In London said...

Happy Holidays to you and yours, too!

And happy birthday! Great post, fantastic celebration.

Greetings from London.

Fly Girl said...

Tiffany, Jean-Luc and Cubano, thanks and enjoy a wonderful holiday season!

shantiwallah said...

Looks fantastic! The livlier the beter for Christmas celebrations in my opinion! Am I remembering correctly from a childhood trip to Bermuda that I would've bought a drink called Goombay Punch? It had a happy face on the can. Anyway, I wish you all the best for the season:-)
Marie

Fly Girl said...

Shanti, you remember exactly right. Goombay Punch is the National brand of Bahamian soft drinks with a whimsical happy face on the can. I'll have a post about it later. Happy Holidays to you too!

CraigJC said...

Wow, what a cool blog. I love it!

http://www.popwife.com/

Fly Girl said...

Craig, thanks so much, I'm glad you dropped by.

Ekua said...

This looks like so much fun! I just heard about junkanoo music a couple years ago, I would love to go to this festival someday!

Fly Girl said...

Ekua, it is a lot of fun, I highly recommend it if you ever have the opportunity.

prashant said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

We 1st got a taste of Junkanoo when we were in the Bahamas in April, and a Junkanoo band went thru thr resort playing the horns and drums and dancing in the most Beattiful Costumes, Now we are planning a Christmas time vacation again to The Islands and can not WAIT to get the full effect the REAL JUNKANOO... So much FUN!!!