Junkanoo is a street parade with music, which occurs in many towns across The Bahamas and The Turks and Caicos Islands every Boxing Day (December 26), New Year’s Day and, more recently, in the summer on the island of Grand Bahama. The largest Junkanoo parade happens in Nassau, the capital. There are additionally Junkanoo parades in both Miami, in June and Key West, in October.
The word “Junkanoo” derived from an African slave named “John Canoe” in the 17th century. These slaves were not allowed much freedom and would hide in the bushes when they had the chance. While in the bushes, they would dance and make music while covered in costumes that they made from various paints that they made and leaves that they found, sponges and old newspaper. This festival represented the slave’s freedom from slavery.
Parades are judged in various categories. I am not sure what all the categories are but I understand that the costumes take all year to make and are of paper mache. My photos do NOT do these costumes any justice. They are simply amazing, showing the the spirit of Junkanoo in a big way. Fun with a flair.
Junkanoo came to Marsh Harbour, so I met John in town and we experienced it first hand. There were only two participants in this small Junkanoo parade but it took forever, just for these two participants perform … I think they may have been traveling 2 blocks an hour. Seriously. In Nassau there are sometimes up 17 groups. Wow, I would have to sleep all day to stay up for that.
Do you Junkanoo? I think I do. Celebrate each day like it’s a parade or festival, like Junkanoo!