Bahamas Travel Spotlight: Junkanoo – The Bahamian Way to Celebrate the Holidays

The Bahamas is the quintessential Caribbean escape, brimming with lavish resorts, azure waters and unparalleled traditions that keep any traveler in the “island state of mind”. Sprinkled across the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, the Bahamas include a unique cluster of over 700 Cays and isles that blend to become a playground for the rich and famous as well as a haven for family friendly timeshares and world-class resorts.  Visitors can indulge in a variety of activities including fishing, diving, boating and any aquatic pursuit under the sun! Bahamians are fiercely proud of their country, and a great time to visit this beautiful set of islands is during their most celebrated time of the year, Junkanoo.

Junkanoo is a centuries old tradition on the islands celebrated each December as a holiday festivity across the various Cays. Dating as far back as the 18th century, Junkanoo initially began as a three-day holiday break for slaves in the Bahamas over Christmas and has evolved into one of the largest and most celebrated inclusive annual holiday events in the Bahamas.

In the Bahamas today, the contemporary Junkanoo occurs each Boxing Day, December 26th, and each New Years Day, with the largest and most prominent celebration held in the capital city of Nassau. The focal point of the Junkanoo celebration is the prolific parade throughout the city of Nassau, appealing to travelers enticed by an exuberant nightlife.  The parade begins at 2am and runs for a full eight hours of non-stop fun. The parade has been rated one of the top ten best events to experience in December according to Touropia, and it is easy to see why.  Sophisticated and intricate costumes abundantly applaud the culture of the islands as masked men and women march through the streets to the beat of drums and the sound of the iconic cowbells.

Traditional Bahamian food is prepared as viewers support the thousands of performers dancing through the streets in merriment and commemoration of the unique splendor that is the culture of the Bahamas. Every country has an inimitable method of rejoicing in the holidays, and the Bahamas is no exception.  The entire collection of Cays embrace the island charm while simultaneously observing its historic roots.

As a traveler who desires a tropical retreat during the frigid holiday months, the Bahamas is a perfect location to jet set to as December commences.  The unrivaled experience of taking part in Junkanoo is a time honored tradition in the Bahamas and enjoying the holiday culture in a country such as this is not to be missed.

By JNR Incorporated

Written by Andy Tallon


JNR Incorporated is a results-based, globally recognized leader that specializes in creating custom travel, meeting, event, prepaid card and merchandise programs that motivate, engage and inspire the employees, customers and channel members of our clients. We have over 30 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies of many diverse industries. Our programs are tailored to fit the specific needs of marketing, sales, management and human resource professionals. The unique solutions we apply are measurable and proven to increase performance, loyalty and revenues.


Photo: “Nassau Junkanoo Festival” by Mathieu Fortin is licensed under CC By 2.0