Friday, December 26, 2003
On December six-and-twenty
It's the day after Christmas, and that means another winter holiday in some parts of North America. Not just Boxing Day in CanadaJunkanoo in the Bahamas.
I discovered it when copyediting (by which I mean "practically rewriting") a book for teachers about holidays, which I briefly posted about back in August. The book mentioned it in two paltry sentences at the end of the section on Kwanzaa, but didn't actually explain it, so I did some Web research so I could provide more (and better-written) information. It turns out it's an Afro-Caribbean holiday started by slaves as early as the 16th century. The day after Christmas and New Year's Day were the two days on which they could hold traditional African celebrations, and the holiday has long outlasted slavery (which ended in the Bahamas in 1838, by the way, 25 years before the U.S. Emancipation Proclamation went into effect).
Anyway, Junkanoo sounds like a heck of a lot of fun. Parades, costumes, music and dancing in the streetsthis Bahamas travel guide says "Junkanoo is reminiscent of New Orleans' Mardi Gras and Rio de Janeiro's Carnival, but it is distinctly Bahamian and exists nowhere else." Certainly more fun than wassailing in the snow. I love Christmas, don't get me wrong, and the Philadelphia Mummers Parade on New Year's Day is a, um, unique spectacle in itself; but one of these late Decembers I want to betake myself to the Bahamas, where the weather is warm and the art doesn't involve snowmen and the music doesn't involve reindeer or the words "fum fum fum."
[ at 3:41 PM • by Abby • permalink • ]