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Junkanoo Parade, Bahamas

Junkanoo Parade

For Bahamians, it is the high point of the season when the nation's main street is transformed into a sea of sight and sound that amazes, astounds and enthralls all who experience it. Junkanoo parades are also held in most of the family islands of the Bahamas, but do not reach the scale of the parade in Nassau.

Tracing its roots to the music, dance and spectacle of West Africa, Junkanoo is one of the oldest surviving street festivals in the Caribbean, dating back to the 17th century. There are a few theories as to the origin of the name, the most popular being from John Canoe, the dialectical adaptation of an African tribal chief during the era of slavery. He demanded that his people be given the right to celebrate their cultural traditions. Slaves were granted three days' holiday at Christmas where they would leave the plantations and celebrate with family and friends through music, dance and costume.

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