What once began as a temporary celebration of freedom for slaves who were given three days off for Christmas soon blossomed into an exuberant, colorful parade. And now Junkanoo—a Bahamian cultural expression—occurs during the dark hours of December 26 and again on New Year’s Day. (It’s said that the darkness of the early morning only adds more to the bewitching atmosphere!)
In downtown Nassau, this Bahamian celebration each December showcases costumes, art and artifacts that are unique to Junkanoo. Onlookers have a chance to see costumes made out of cardboard or wood and decorated with brightly colored paper. Rhythmic goombay drums, copper bells and mouth whistles can be heard during performances parading through Bay Street.