Junkanoo

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Music of The Anglophone Caribbean
Genres
Regional music
Local forms
Related areas

Junkanoo is a street parade with music, dance and costumes in many towns across The Bahamas every Boxing Day (December 26), New Year's Day and, more recently, in the summer on the island of Grand Bahama. The largest Junkanoo parade happens in Nassau, the capital. There are also Junkanoo parades in Miami in June and Key West in October, where the local black American populations have their roots in the Bahamas. In addition to being a culture dance for the Garifuna people,[1][2] this type of dancing is also performed in Jamaica on Independence day and other historical holidays.

Dances are choreographed to the beat of goatskin drums and cowbells.[3] Bahamian musician and composer Edward Clement Bethel (1938 – 1987) authored the book Junkanoo: Festival of The Bahamas (Macmillan Caribbean 1992, ISBN 0-333-55469-8) and his daughter Nicolette Bethel expanded it.

History[edit]

The origin of the word "junkanoo" is rather obscure. Some people believe it comes from the French "L'inconnu" which means "the unknown," in reference to the masks worn by the paraders. Junkanoo may have West African origins, as the costumes and conduct of the masqueraders bear similarities with the Yoruba Egungun festivals.[4]

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

Parades in Nassau are judged in various categories; A (or Major) Category, the B Category, Individual costume, and fun groups. The A category groups involved in the Nassau Junkanoo include One Family, The Music Makers, Roots, Saxons, The Valley Boys and The Prodigal Sons. Groups of the past include The Vikings and Chippie and the Boys. In the B category, groups include The Redland Soldiers, Colours Entertainment, Fancy Dancers, Original Congos, Conquerors for Christ, and Body of Christ Crusaders. Fun groups include The Pigs, Sting, and Barabbas & The Tribe.

Popular culture[edit]

The Junkanoo parade has been featured in multiple media properties.

  • The parade was featured in After the Sunset.
  • The parade was featured in Jaws The Revenge.
  • A Junkanoo parade is featured in sequences of the James Bond film Thunderball that occur in Nassau. The celebration was staged specifically for the movie since it was filmed at the wrong time of year, but local residents were enthusiastic, creating elaborate floats and costumes and involving hundreds of people.[citation needed]
  • In Top Chef: Allstars Season 8, episode 13, "Fit for a King", the chef-testants danced at the Junkanoo parade, learned about its history, and competed to make the best dish for the Junkanoo King.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ericka Hamburg (December 23, 2007), Free to dance - Belize's liberating Jonkonnu celebration recalls a slavery-era tradition, Los Angeles Times, p. 3, retrieved October 15, 2013 
  2. ^ Gene Scaramuzzo (April 28, 1989), African-Caribbean Music Takes Off, The Times-Picayune, p. L21 
  3. ^ 7 Junkanoo Festival; Bahamas November/ December 2011 Afar page 93
  4. ^ Allsop, Richard (2003). The Dictionary of Caribbean English Usage. Jamaica: University of the West Indies Press. p. 776. ISBN 978-976-640-145-0. 

Sources[edit]

  • Nissenbaum, Stephen. The Battle for Christmas. New York: Vintage Books, 1997.
  • Wisdom, Keith Gordon. Bahamian Junkanoo: An Act in a Modern Social Drama (Dissertation)
  • Wood, Vivian Nina Michelle. Rushin' hard and runnin' hot: Experiencing the music of the Junkanoo Parade in Nassau, Bahamas (Dissertation)

External links[edit]