On December 26th each year, in the pre-dawn hours, the streets of downtown Nassau Bahamas come alive with color, motion, and music, as troupes of Junkanoo revellers start their traditional “rush.” The Bahamian masquerade involves intricately choreographed performances to the beat of goombay drums, the chime of cowbells, and the blare of bugles. Then the celebration happens all over again on 1 January, welcoming in the New Year.
In most of the Caribbean, 26 December is the anticlimax after Christmas. But in the Bahamas, Boxing Day can feel like the main event, as the annual Junkanoo celebrations fill the streets of Nassau with elaborately costumed masqueraders, “rushing” to the rhythm of cowbells and whistles. Troupes of up to a thousand masqueraders show off their choreographed routines as they head for the main stage in Rawson Square. A week later, on 1 January, it happens all over again.