Junkanoo is a national festival in The Bahamas. The origin of the word Junkanoo is still not been determined. Some say it comes from the French “L’inconnu” (meaning the unknown), in reference to the masks worn by the paraders; or “junk enoo,” the Scottish settlers’ reference to the parades, meaning “junk enough;” but the schools are teaching the origin as “John Canoe,” the name of an African tribal chief, who demanded the right to celebrate with his people.
The slaves were given a special holiday at Christmas time, when they could leave the plantations to be with their family and celebrate the holidays with African dance, wear special costumes and “celebrate” to their own music. After emancipation, they continued this tradition and, today, Junkanoo has evolved from its simple origins to a formal, more organized parade with sophisticated intricate costumes, themed music and incentive prizes.
Among the Junkanoo troupes are the “Saxons,” “Valley Boys”, “Roots” “One Family” and many many more. Competition amongst them is fierce and locals start preparing for this from mid-year. A huge monetary prize is given and a huge amount of respect is earned.
The groups consist of men, women and children. Tourists even join in this very festive celebration.
Everyone is invited to join in the party and sing and dance along. It starts about midnight and goes on well into the late morning.
For more information about the biggest Bahamian Festival and how to become a part of it……..contact Lamond & Robyn Davis at………………………
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