Traditional Christmas Greeting: "Merry Christmas"
Location: Caribbean
Tree Type: Cultural

The holiday celebrations of the Bahamas, called Junkanoo, take place on December 26th and January 1st. Between 2 am and dawn, an enormous parade presents hundreds of people along with dancing, music, and vibrant costumes. Participants are organized into troupes that can have up to 1000 members, each with its own special theme and decorations competing for cash prizes. Costumes are prepared in absolute secrecy, and participants often spend all year arranging their big and colorful creations of feathers, crepe paper, fabric, wood and tissue. Music accompanies the groups as they dance through the streets in their carefully practiced formations.

Junkanoo is thought to have evolved from the joyous celebrations of Caribbean slaves when they were given several days off around Christmas to spend with their families. Today, these celebrations similar to New Orleans' Mardi Gras and Brazil's Carnival have become an important expression of Bahamian culture.