- Type: Entertainment and Nightlife, Festivals
- Time to Spend: More than Full Day
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If you're traveling to the Bahamas over the winter holidays, travelers urge you to partake in Junkanoo. Held all over the islands with the biggest celebration taking place on Bay Street in Nassau, Junkanoo is a night parade held on Boxing Day (Dec. 26), New Year's Day and then again in the summertime. Young and old Bahamians spend months making elaborate (but disposable) costumes for the parades, then they take to the islands' streets to dance, blare conch-shell horns, beat goatskin drums and clank cowbells. At the end of the procession, which usually lasts from 2 a.m. to 10 a.m., judges select the best dancers, best costumes and more. According to legend, Junkanoo derives from an African chief, "John Canoe," who demanded the right to celebrate with his tribe even after being sold into slavery in the West Indies.
You can participate in Junkanoo for free, but you'll find specifics on the parades from the Bahamas Tourism Board. If you can't time your travel to make it for the official Junkanoo celebration, Paradise Island's Marina Village hosts mini-Junkaroos weekly.