We're in the limbo period between Christmas and New Year's, so that mean's it's time for JUNKANOO!!!! Some of you are nodding your heads knowingly, and some of you are scratching your heads. I was in the latter category until I heard a radio story on Junkanoo earlier in the week. I don't know where Junkanoo's been all my life! Apparently, there's a depiction of a Junkanoo parade in the James Bond movie Thunderball!
Junkanoo is a festival that occurs in the Bahamas on the morning of Boxing Day (the day after Christmas). Bands with drums and horns roam the streets in the early morning, making you wish you hadn't reached for that last rum-spiked eggnog. The parades feature groups of costumed dancers and musicians called "gangs" that are similar to Mardi Gras "krews" in New Orleans.
The costumes are one of the most important elements of the celebration, and they have evolved over the years from being made out of rags and bits of cloth to being adorned with sponges native to the Bahamas to the modern costumes, which are made entirely out of CREPE PAPER! The Junkanoo troupes spend massive amounts of time working on their costumes, which consist of tons of fringed pieces all glued together on cardboard or cloth backing. That's some serious papercraft!
Thanks to Flickr user SirAdderly for providing some of the photos I've swiped here. If anybody else has Junkanoo photos to share, I'd love to see them. You've already missed your chance on Boxing Day to see the madness, but supposedly, certain towns in the Bahamas also get their paper costumes out again for a New Years celebration. Like all things that can be commercialized for tourism, The Bahamas have added a third Junkanoo celebration that occurs in the summer. Yes, Junkanoo has a dark side. The Baha Men (of "Who Let the Dogs Out" infamy) are active in the Junkanoo world. Doh!
Now is the time to break out your crepe paper and start preparing for next year, my friends. Maybe I can finally write off that trip to the Bahamas I've been wanting to take on my taxes next year.