The Junkanoo is a parade that goes down the streets and brings people from all over the world together. There are colorful costumes and huge floats surrounded by incredible dancers. It is a celebration that has been featured in different television shows and movies throughout the years and something taken very seriously by those who put on the celebration and the parades.
A Junkanoo Band plays and the energy of the whole street just changes. The sounds and sights of the enthusiastic dancers are unlike anything you’ve ever seen. The Bahamas Carnival has a parade that features the Bahamia Junkanoo dancers who incorporate music, instruments, and art into their movements. It is a highly male dominated group of dancers that perform, but women are becoming more of a fixture since the first women made it their mission to dance in the 50’s. Each time the Junkanoo Band performs they are dressed for the theme of the day or holiday they are performing on. The most popular days and colorful costumes are on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. The Boxing Day celebration in the Bahamas is the biggest of all the Junkanoo band performances, but there are so many more that capture the spirit of the people and the holidays. The Junkanoo band plays all types of instruments while the dancers entertain. They play whistles, cowbells, horns, and drums among other instruments.
The history of the Junkanoo tradition is up for debate by some very passionate followers of the celebration. Some say it was started by John Canoe a West African Prince who became a local hero when he outwitted the English. That makes it a hero’s celebration which some people like, but that is only the first of the many stories of Junkaoo’s origin. Some other people say it comes from the French. The French phrase ‘gens inconnus’ means unknown or masked people. A third group says that the Loyalists in the 18th century let those people who were slaves have three days off at Christmas where they danced in colorful masks to celebrate. That’s the most popular explanation and the one that a lot of people like to relate Junkanoo with. It’s a celebration of freedom for everyone and you can’t help but be in a good mood when you think of it like that.
The street fair is great entertainment for people of all ages, and the colors make everyone happy. The celebration begins with a grand opening and the Junkanoo make a grand entrance leading the parade. After slavery was abolished the tradition of Junkanoo was almost gone. It was revived in the Bahamas and has become an amazing tradition. When the parade is going on you are seeing the result of thousands of hours of practice. The time spent preparing for the dancing and getting everything ready is worth it when they can entertain the masses.
The dancers make their own costumes and create lovely designs out of cardboard and crepe paper. The parade moves down the streets from two am to ten am. You will see people everywhere watches from the balconies the streets and where ever you can get to see the dancers. The celebration ends with a closing day to close the three days of pure joy and seal the memories so everyone can look forward to the next celebration. There are other celebrations where you can experience the carnival such as Eleuthera/Harbour Island, Birmin, The Exumas, and the Abacos. The Bahamas is the biggest one and the most exciting. So if you want to experience the fun of Junkanoo and the amazing dancing celebration one of these places is waiting for you.
If you want to keep the celebration going anytime then you can hire a Junkanoo Band for your event. They would make a perfect convention show opener or closer to really entertain a crowd. Maybe you