Junkanoo brings visitors and locals together in Nassau and throuhout the Bahamas Islands. Celebrate, dance and having a great time.
It’s better in the Bahamas, and Junkanoo is one of the many reasons.
There is always a reason to travel to the Bahamas, but for Christmas and New Year – there is something no one interested in culture, festivals, and fun should miss.
Goombay is the official music and dance of The Bahamas. It combines various musical genres, including R&B, jazz, traditional mento, and calypso music. You can identify reggae by its heavy bass and offbeat rhythms. Reggae incorporates many musical instruments, including drums, bass, guitars, horns, and vocals. Get ready to dance to it at the upcoming Junkanoo festival.
Visitors can team up with locals to enjoy festivities in Nassau, Grand Bahama Island, Bimini, Eleuthera, Abaco, Long Island, Cat Island, Inagua, and Andros.
Junkanoo celebration brings together people from all walks of life. Anyone is welcome to participate, so long as they abide by the rules of the National Junkanoo Association. Visitors can make arrangements through their hotel to join the festival.
From colorful costumes to exuberant dance routines, participants spend months preparing for the pageantry of this street parade accompanied by the steady beat of whistles, cowbells, horns, and goatskin drums that starts in the wee hours after midnight.
The Genesis Junakoo Organization explains its mandate:
To promote art, culture, community development, business development, training, and education throughout our local communities.
To ensure a duty of care to all members by fostering plans; that socially, economically, and physically enhance and enrich the lives of each member.
To provide all services in a fair way to all members of the organization. To develop sharp minds, good moral character, and healthy bodies within the organization and the community.
Catch this celebration of Bahamian culture and history on Boxing Day—the day after Christmas—as well as on New Year’s Day and many Saturdays throughout the summer.
The largest Junkanoo celebration is on Bay Street in downtown Nassau, but Bahamians across the 16 islands celebrate this joyful tradition.
The festival is also celebrated on Independence Day, Junkanoo Summer Fest, and other small holidays.
Though the exact origin of the festival is unknown, there are plenty of theories.
Many believe it was established by John Canoe, a legendary West African Prince who outwitted the English and became a local hero.
The most popular belief, however, is that it evolved from the days of slavery.
Loyalists who migrated to The Bahamas in the late 18th Century brought their African slaves with them. The slaves were given three days off during the Christmas season, which they used to celebrate by singing and dancing in colorful masks, and traveling from house to house, often on stilts.
The uncertainty of its origin only proves that Bahamians don’t need a reason to throw a wonderful celebration.
The celebrations of the Junkanoo Festival have been evolving in The Bahamas since the early 1900s, but today, it serves less as a street festival and more as a grand parade celebrating the Bahamian culture.
Organized groups of up to 1000 people spend almost the whole year preparing costumes and entertainment for the event, and to them, that’s half the fun.
Tourists can enjoy round-the-clock parties at many hotels, such as the Four Seasons Resort, The Cove, Eleuthera, Atlantis Paradise, Resorts World Bimini, the Club Med Columbus Isle in San Salvador, or Sandals Resorts, the master of celebrations everywhere in the Caribbean.