If you’re looking for things to do in the Bahamas this summer, you should definitely consider traveling to the islands during their Independence Day celebrations. The Independence Day of the Bahamas is July 10. In 1973 on this day, after centuries of colonial rule, the Bahamas finally won their independence from Britain becoming a sovereign nation. The Bahamas had been under European control since Columbus “discovered” them in 1492. They were controlled by Spain until Britain took control in 1717. They remained under British control from then on--barring a brief period under Spanish rule again during the American Revolution--until their eventual independence in 1973. Though an independent nation, the Bahamas remain a commonwealth of Britain.
The Bahamians celebrate their freedom for an entire week. Festivities usually start around July 3 culminating a week later on the official holiday, July 10. They celebrate through street performances, fireworks, political speeches, and several Junkanoos. Junkanoo is the traditional carnival parade of the Bahamas. It normally takes place on Boxing Day, December 26, and on New Years Day, but the Bahamians have begun to incorporate it into their Independence Day celebrations. Nassau always has the largest Junkanoo parade. The parade in Nassau is even judged based on a few main categories, including individual costumes and fun groups. Many groups take this competition very seriously and create elaborate, beautiful costumes. There are also intricately choreographed dances performed by individuals and groups. Goatskin drums and cowbells supply the exciting beat for the dances. Bahamian music is a mixture of Caribbean calypso, Trinidadian soca, and Jamaican reggae. More recently it has also been influenced by American rap and hip hop. If you are looking for things to do in the Bahamas, seeing the main Junkanoo parade on Nassau, in all its costumed and musical splendor, should definitely be one of them.
The origins of “Junkanoo” as a word is unknown. The celebration originally started, however, in the 16th and 17th centuries. It was focused around Christmas because that was when the slaves were allowed to leave their plantations and celebrate with their families. The tradition continued even after slavery ended. It has become more and more intricate and fantastic through the years until becoming the cultural force it is now.
While you’re celebrating Independence Day in the Bahamas, you are going to want to make sure you also eat the Bahamian cuisine. From conch and other seafood, to goat and even iguana, there are many delicious foods to try. And, of course, as far a alcohol is concerned, there is plenty of rum to go around. There’s plenty of amazing foods and drinks to eat and drink while you watch the Junkanoos on the Bahamian Independence Day. You will not run out of Bahamas tours to choose from.