is the quintessential celebration of the Turks and
Caicos islands, a street parade of masquerades of
colorful costumes, goatskin drums, jangling cowbells,
raucous, shak-shak and other rhythm instruments. Junkanoo
is one of the few examples of the Turks and Caicos
brings out feelings of excitement and exhilaration
as a cacophony of horns, whistles, drums and cowbells
are heard long before the brightly coloured procession
appears in view with their wild uninhibited and hypnotic
dancing. The term "rush"
is given to all-out dancing in the streets where everyone
joins in ("jump
up") and it becomes a unforgotten
festival of revelry, amusement and frivolity for everyone.
comparable to New Orleans Mardi Gras and Carnival
in Rio, is typically staged in the early hours of
Boxing Day, Provo Day and again in the small hours
of January 1st. However, in the Turks and Caicos,
you will see Junkanoo performed at special events
throughout the year.
costumes are a "Labour of Love". The Islanders,
school children, teenagers and residents will spend
months creating their vivid imaginative costumes out
of colourful crepe paper, sequins, jewels, feathers,
cardboard, wire mesh, wood and glue. The key is colour
- in every line and shade. Some of them are masterpieces
but typically after Junkanoo, these costumes are hauled
away as garbage.
is believed to have begun during the 16th & 17th century.
The slaves were given a special holiday at Christmas
time in which they could leave the plantation to be
with their families and celebrate the holidays with
African dance, music and costumes. Some credit should
be given to the catchy name which came from Joh Canoe,
a legendary West African Chieftain.
Emancipation the descendants continued this tradition
and today Junkanoo has evolved from its simple origins
to a formal more organized parade with sophisticated
costumes, themes, music and incentive prizes. There
are two popular Junkanoo groups on Providenciales,
Predators" and "Wefunk
you would like to contact The Predators or
would like further information on Junkanoo in Turks
and Caicos Islands, you may call Tanka at (649) 241-0864.