Life in the Bahamas – A Look at Junkanoo

Junkanoo kids

After two trips to the Bahamas, I have come to realize that the islands can be a strange place. It’s a decidedly good kind of strange though, the sort which makes you smile and shake your head. Even though I’ve never been there during Junkanoo season, its presence is always visible and helps create the unique Bahamian spirit.

Traditionally this Carnivalesque celebration takes place on Boxing Day (December 26) and New Year’s Day, but while it may look like Carnival, its roots are completely different. The term junkanoo is derived from an African slave master and trader named “John Canoe” who lived in the 17th century. The slaves didn’t have much freedom and the celebration was their only chance to dance and celebrate in their own unique way. Over the centuries, junkanoo has become a symbol of freedom and independence.

Junkanoo parades happen all over the Bahamas and groups spend all year planning for and preparing their elaborate and colorful costumes. The music and dance though is practiced every day, from the smallest school kid learning the basics of the beat to the random person in the street who just breaks out in dance.

I know that junkaoo is a party representing freedom, but I think it’s a lot more. It defines the unique attitude and spirit that makes the Bahamas so much fun to visit.

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By: Matt Long

Matt has a true passion for travel. As someone who has a bad case of the travel bug, Matt travels the world in order to share tips on where to go, what to see and how to experience the best the world has to offer.Also follow Matt on Twitter, Facebook and

3 Responses

  1. Andi of My Beautiful Adventures

    This was one of my best travel experiences!

    Reply
  2. my.

    Hi Matt. Was recommended to check out your site by a fellow Twitter friend. Great site and information you have. I’ve been to the Bahamas once and absolutely love it there. I did not know about the Junkanoo parade and may have to go back there one day. — Michelle

    Reply
    • Matt Long

      Thank you and welcome! I appreciate the kind words and look forward to getting to know more about you

      Reply

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