Friday, April 5, 2013

A New Junkanoo

Recently I had the good fortune to travel for well over my 30th trip to Nassau. Nassau is the capital city of the Bahamas, located on New Providence Island, the 11th largest of the Bahamian Islands.
Many of you know of my fascination with all things pirate. Nassau was inhabited primarily by pirates until 1718 when many were expelled by the first Royal Governor and Fort Nassau was built for protection. In fact the Colonial Hilton in downtown Nassau was built on the former site of one of Blackbeard's homes.
 Junkanoo is a festival and celebration of Bahamian culture where groups/tribes parade through Nassau with elaborate homemade costumes and playing cow/goat bells/ drums/whistles and horns.  Junkanoo is believed to have developed from the days of slavery. The influx of Loyalists in the late 18th Century brought many enslaved people who were given three days off at Christmas, which they celebrated by singing and dancing in colorful masks and costumes, traveling from house to house, often on stilts. As you will see, many of the original costumes were made from whatever materials available including paper and sponges. Junkanoo nearly vanished after slavery was abolished but the revival of the festival in The Bahamas now provides entertainment for many thousands of native bahamians and visitors each year. 
Some of my family members visited the Junkanoo Museum this year to learn more of the history and see how it continues today.We were educated in rituals, marched, played instruments and were inducted as true Junkanoo's at the end of the ceremony. So from one of the newest Junkanoo's,  Please enjoy some of our photos.
Queen of Hearts headdress

Early original costume made from paper

Early original costume made from sponges

Newer costume on display

Madison in her headdress

Maggie in headdress

Joan and Barry in very tropical headdresses
Tyler in massive Samurai headdress and prop swords

Katherine  in headdress

Tori in her headdress
Display of costumes from multiples festivals

I could get used to this !

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