After Bimini, we did an overnight to the West End of New Providence where Nassau is located. We anchored in West Bay and took a cab into Nassau to visit downtown. While we were there we moved to Palm Cay Marina on the east end of New Providence. While we were in the marina, we attended Junkanoo. Junkanoo is an annual festival that includes parades and other festivities around Boxing Day and New Year.
The origins of Junkanoo are shrouded in history. Some say the origin of Junkanoo is unknown. However, it can be traced back to West Africa. The most popular legend states that the name originated from John Canoe, an African tribal chief who demanded the right to celebrate with his people even after being brought to the West Indies in slavery, During pre -and post -slavery days, Christmas was the greatest time for celebration in the Bahamas, and Junkanoo was the highlight. This remains true today.
The Junkanoo floats are built and maintained by volunteer community groups in large warehouse style structures. The groups engender tremendous loyalty and have names like Valley Boys, Roots, One Family and Saxons. I’m not sure what the origin of these names are some are based on regions of the island and some are otherwise derived. The Valley Boys lost the Boxing Day Junkanoo parade contest but won the New Year Junkanoo contest. Junkanoo starts at midnight and goes until about 5am…..the contestants then take a break and come back around 7am and do the whole parade circuit again.
All the floats and costumes are hand made. Mostly they are made from cardboard and paper.