The only way to describe the Junkanoo Festival is that it was the experience of a lifetime. I have not attended very many cultural festivals previously, and this trip to the Bahamas was my first time traveling outside of the United States, so I did not know what to expect. However, after volunteering to dance in the street and being filmed for Bahamian national television, I knew I was about to experience something truly unique.
The passion and creativity of the festival was highlighted through the handmade costumes, live music, and native dance, and the energy exuding from the crowd was absolutely captivating. The amount of time, effort, and skill required to create the costumes was somewhat mind boggling. Hours, days, and months are poured into these extremely detailed works of art every year to showcase them for an 8-hour period, only to dismantle them a few days later to begin work on new ones for the next year!
It is true that you can only capture the full essence of the festival by experiencing it first-hand. The rich history it signifies and the value it brings to being Bahamian has definitely given me a greater understanding and sincere appreciation of this beautiful culture. I felt very welcomed by the locals and was thanked many times for joining them in their celebration. I hope the festival continues to grow so that more people can experience this awesome tradition, and that I can attend again in the future!