Wednesday, 3 January 2018

© "The Faces of Junkanoo" - New Years Morning 2018 & 2019

         Bahamian weather these recent years have done us proud; calm clear skies and an impressive full moon adding to the flavor of something special about to be experienced. We have another couple of guests, friends from Abaco having retired there for several months of the year. They have often attended Junkanoo in Marsh Harbour and dreamt about seeing 'the real thing' in the city of Nassau where groups of enormous size begin to gather once again in the staging area off Elizabeth Avenue. We guide Jack & Stephanie, introducing them through the eyes of local Bahamians, to meet some of the group participants and witness the costumes and floats prepared for the march on to Shirley Street. They are greeted by our super friendly people with smiles and warm welcome, some chatting with them about their costume themes and the history behind Junkanoo, always willing to pose for valuable keepsake photos! Again we mingle around the campfire used to heat the goatskin drums while ladies prepare each others extravagant makeup.

The food stalls send waves of mouthwatering aroma across the courtyard while group members & friends rest up before the long evening into daylight commences.

The floats and costumes have gone to new heights this New Years Junkanoo. Just when we thought we had 'seen it all' during the Boxing Day Parade just six days later the bar has been raised beyond measure! It is mind-blowing to watch the massive structures wheeled on to Shirley Street under the floodlighting that brings the extravagant scene to life. Who will take the prizes this year, 'Valley Boys', 'One Family', 'Saxons' or 'Roots'? Thankfully we are not judges, a task way too difficult to choose!

With a huge blast of the tuba brass section of each group the parade begins. Dancers twirl in unison, brass bands raise their chorus while the cowbells and whistles begin their hypnotic rhythm. Our guests are flabbergasted as Melissa and I begin to photograph 'The Faces of Junkanoo'! ~ enjoy as there are loads to choose from, noting you can click on each frame to see the full image and drag on to your desktop to save for yourself or a friend you may recognise!

As the huge floats passed us we were fascinated but the intricacy of design not only the fabulous frontal view but also from behind!

What caught the eye this year was some of the really small members of the groups who danced, smiled and blew those whistles as if playing this part for years while some only two & three years old!

This year presents an unusual dilemma of how many photographs to post so with more floats and characters Melissa & I choose some of the better images out of the hundreds we captured!

Once in a while the photographers get a cameo appearance in each others scene!

The music was a huge factor in the judging we think? Each brass section of tuba, trumpet and trombone, conch shell, all accompanied with drum & whistle provided that fabulous unique rhythm only heard in the Bahamas, making the crowds aligning the street move in their hundreds as the groups marched passed!

We stay on the streets for over six hours taking a fleeting rest on a nearby wall once in a while. The dark skies of night give way to the beautiful blue hue of an approaching dawn allowing the costumes and floats to literally jump out of our camera screens!

We spy our illustrious Prime Minister, the Honourable Hubert Minnis, once again blending into the huge group of Saxons as the music fades slowly down the street for their final appearance on Bay Street.

Its time again to head home with wonderful memories that our guests can take with them back to the Out-Islands. Until next year .... best wishes from us both!


Here we are again, another year passed and 2019 is upon us!
More friends come and stay with us over the New Years holiday and invited to come share the Junkanoo experience! Venturing downtown Nassau at 3am we find the groups slowly organizing.

We show our first-time visitors to the Bahamas our favourite places for viewing, so close we have to ease passed the huge groups that pass us on the street!

Our new friends soon feel the rhythm of hundreds of cowbells, whistles, horns and drum accompanied with wonderful brass sections that has become a regular feature of modern day Junkanoo Parade.


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