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Christmas in The Bahamas

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Bahamas Junkanoo CelebrationCelebrate Christmas in The Bahamas!
Don't miss Junkanoo in Nassau.

Christmas celebrations in The Bahamas would not be complete without Junkanoo bands "rushing" in the streets. Venture down to Bay Street in Nassau during the early morning hours of Boxing Day (the day after Christmas) and New Year's Day and behold this cornucopia of color and sound. The darkness of the early morning adds to the bewitching atmosphere. Overhead streetlights highlight the hues of the costumes and banners intricately designed and patterned from minute strips of crepe paper of all colors glued to clothing, cardboard and wood.

Ideally located on a beautiful private beach, the British Colonial Hilton hotel is situated within 5 minutes walk of the heart of the Bahamas Junkanoo celebrations.

The origin of the word Junkanoo is obscure. 

Most Bahamians believe it came from "John Canoe," the name of an African tribal chief who demanded the right to celebrate with his people even after being brought to the West Indies in slavery. 

It is believed that this festival began during the 16th and 17th centuries. The slaves were given a special holiday at Christmas time, when they could leave the plantations to be with their family and celebrate the holidays with African dance, music and costumes. After emancipation, they continued this tradition and, today, Junkanoo has evolved from its simple origins to a formal, more organized parade with sophisticated, intricate costumes, themed music and incentive prizes.

There is even a museum showcasing Junkanoo costumes, art and artifacts in downtown Nassau--a cultural highlight and must-see attraction for all visitors. 

Among the Junkanoo troupes are the "Saxons," "Valley Boys," "One Family" and "Roots." Competition amongst them is fierce--thousands of dollars in prize money are at stake--and costume designs are a closely-guarded secret until they are finally unveiled. 

Each troupe selects a theme for its costumes and members are dressed in variations of that theme. It could be something as archaic as Vikings or as contemporary as astronauts. The groups short-step or merengue along the street, depending on the music they play with their goat-skin drums, cowbells, conchshell horns and whistles. Revelers on the sidelines cavort with the same abandon, singing and dancing along, "We're rushin', we're rushin', we're rushin through the crowd ... K-k-kalik, k-k-kalik, k-k-kaliking k-k-kalik, k-k-kalik, k-k-kalik, k-k-kalik, yeah." 

This year's Junkanoo Parades promise to be better than ever. Everyone is invited to join in the party and sing and dance along. It takes about two hours to view all entries, but don't leave just yet. It's even better the second time around! 

And if you just can't make it to The Bahamas at Christmastime, there's always "Junkanoo in June" where parades are held at Arawak Cay, just outside downtown Nassau.

Ideally located on a beautiful private beach, the British Colonial Hilton hotel is situated within 5 minutes walk of the heart of the Bahamas Junkanoo celebrations.  It is also right next to Nassau's shopping district and the financial center. The British Colonial Hilton Nassau was previously the site of the Old Fort Nassau and currently offers Junkanoo revelers a luxurious blend of relaxation, exciting activities and pleasure.

Book your Bahamas Junkanoo Holiday now!

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