Monday, January 23, 2012

Junkanoo Festival - The Bahamas - Culture & Travel - On

"Junkanoo is a national celebration of Bahamian culture that is over 200 years old. Though many visitors to the Bahamas arent aware of this party in the streets, director of Educulture Bahamas, Ltd., Arlene Nash Ferguson shares the history and importance of this tradition in everyday Bahamian life.

Its said that Junkanoo began under British law, when slaves were allowed three days vacation around Christmastime each year. Taking full advantage of this break from hard labor, they reclaimed their humanity through an African festival. Since then, this celebration of life and the peoples endurance has continued and become a mainstay in local culture. Two celebrations take place, one Christmas night and the other New Years morning. Full of energy and vibrant dancing, the costumes worn are a central focus of the festival.

Although the materials used have changed throughout the years, from sponges found on the floors of the ocean to newspaper and tissue, and now, crepe paper, the amount of craft involved has stayed the same. The crepe paper is placed onto cardboard one piece at a time and the costumes are layered with crafty details, making this a year-long preparation. Arlene spreads this important history and heritage to local school students, teaching them about the national pride the Junkanoo celebration instills."

Courtesy of The Voyage Channel on YouTube