What is the Junkanoo festival; a local’s guide

 

When in the Bahamas, you can find unending reasons to party and have fun. But if you are in the islands around Christmas you’re in for a treat. December 26th, also known as Boxing Day is the day all the colors and shimmer fill the streets of Downtown Nassau. Gigantic floats with men and women dressed in beautiful multicolored attire, decorated with glitter and feathers move through the streets of Nassau celebrating the most exciting day on the islands.

Legend has it that Junkanoo originated more than 500 years ago, when loyalists who migrated to the Bahamas celebrated the 3 days they got off each year with loud music, costumes, dance and masquerade. It was supposedly the most awaited festival, and with good reason.

Experiencing the Junkanoo festival is like no other. Although you see similar festivals in Miami and Rio, seeing it where it all began has different feel altogether. At the festival you’ll see over a 1000 people perform well practiced routines on top of floats with several people dressed in beautiful costumes leading the way. Apart from the flashy floats, the Junkanoo is also famous for the out of the box costumes and routines that are awarded cash prizes at the end of the parade.

The aim of the parade is to get everyone to their feet, even though it starts in the wee hours of the day, usually around 2a.m and ends around 10a.m, you will find several people pumped up by the beats and swaying all around the vicinity of the parade, even if it’s just their balconies.

If you aren’t in Nassau during the carnival, don’t worry, the intoxicating carnival and the hypnotic music will find it’s way to you on the Grand Bahamas Island, Eleuthera & Harbour Island, Bimini Islands, The Exuma Cays and The Abacos. So if you are in the Bahamas for vacation during Christmas or New year, make sure you are there to see this breath taking carnival if you haven’t before. It is the kind of sleepless night that you wouldn’t regret.

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