Junkanoo Festival

The Bahamas is lit up with bright colors, and a flamboyant culture, thanks to it’s warm and tropical surroundings, which makes for a perfect fun and relaxed atmosphere. The positivity, attitude, and warmth of the Bahamian culture all all reflected in what may by the one most important event of all of the islands of the Bahamas all year. This would be the best time to book your vacation in the Bahamas, and book one of the many Bahamas attractions to have some fun in the sun.

Junkanoo has been an important part of Bahamian culture and is the most celebrated festival in all of the Bahamas. The Junkanoo Festival has been around since the late 18th century, when the slave owners would give their slaves three days off the plantation to do whatever they please, and it started the day after Christmas. The slaves would celebrate with each other around the islands as free men, with dancing, masks, and music. This was the only way for the slaves to keep alive their African heritage, and be able to pass it on to future generations. Slaves would travel from house to house to other slaves, dressed up in colorful masks, dance together, wear home-made costumes, and even wore stilts to appear more creature-like.

After slavery was abolished, the tradition of Junkanoo went nearly extinct in the Bahamas. It was revived by descendants of the slaves, who believe if this was a part of the Bahamian history, it should still be apart of Bahamian culture. Because of these few and noble Bahamians, the Bahamas has one of the most fun events to attend for everyone.

Junkanoo will take place over the course of three days, starting the day after Christmas, and provides great entertainment for both the locals, and visitors of the Bahamas. The islands that will have the larger celebrations are Nassau, Grand Bahama Island, Eleuthera/ Harbour Island, Bimini, The Exumas and The Abacos. Thousands of dancers and musicians will be dressed in bright colors, be adorned in detailed headdresses, be masked in beautiful face paint. For three days, this high energy party doesn’t stop, and keeps everyone happy and excited. At the end of all of it, judges will come together and pick the winners for best music, best costume, and best group. These winners will be given cash prizes for their amount of thought and effort.

Another thing to know about the Junkanoo festival, is that it happens to take place in the wee hours of the morning, so be prepared to stay up late into the early hours of the morning. The Junkanoo parade will usually glide through the downtown areas of the islands from about 2 a.m. to 10 a.m. Despite the times of the parade, the overall event is a Bahamas kid-friendly activity.

If for any reason you are not going to be able to spend the holidays here in the Bahamas for Junkanoo, than we recommend checking out the Junkanoo Expo Museum to get a feeling of what it may be like.