Junkanoo is a celebration of life – a tradition brought over from Africa. We learned a lot about it at an interactive lecture, where we were entertained by a mini-Junkanoo.
A large group went on the Froggie’s (dive and tour) boat, to the Abaco Inn, on Elbow Cay south of Hopetown, which hosted the event. “Big Mo” Morley was our very talented and knowledgeable speaker. He explained, described, and helped us experience Junkanoo.
Many know Junkanoo as a parade of lavishly colorful costumes, elaborately choreographed dances and rhythmic, drum-driven music, similar to Mardi Gras. Also cow bells – very traditional. What we learned is that there’s a lot more to it than what you see on parade day. With the need for many workers and helpers to design, engineer and create the costumes and floats, Junkanoo is a way to bring together men and women of all ages from all different walks of life. Their work together helps to build community all year long.
Each costume and float is inspired by a different theme. Preparations for the Boxing Day, New Year’s Day and summertime Junkanoos literally take months. Music also plays an important role and there are many different kinds of drums – made from the skins of sheep, goats and cows.
Costumes can weigh up to 100 pounds per person, but modern construction methods and materials have made a huge difference, making the costumes much lighter.
They are all so beautiful and so intricately crafted.
When it was time to leave, we were treated to a beautiful sunset cruise,
back to Hopetown.
Where we had a mini-supper on the boat of Vernon’s freshly baked bread with New Zealand butter and English marmalade. Yummy. Plus a little chocolate, of course, for a smooth finish.
So much like the Mardi Gras Indians, same story about the costumes. And they look pretty much the same! Next will you be attending a voodoo ceremony?