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Bahamas Culture

Information for Caribbean Vacations in the Bahamas

Bahamas culture is a hybrid of African, European and indigenous forms. Religion is an important part of Bahamian life, with even the smallest village having a church, or two. This religious ardor is a result of their Puritan heritage, dating back to the Eleutheran Adventurers. English is the primary language spoken in the region, though cultural influences have created a unique and pleasant dialect. Patois, traditional English, and African words, pronunciations, and idioms have all been assimilated into the unique brand of English found in the Bahamas.

About Bahamas | Bahamas History | Bahamas Culture

The music of the Bahamas is associated primarily with junkanoo, a celebration which occurs on Boxing Day (December 26) and again on New Year's Day (January 1). Parades and other celebrations mark the ceremony. The junkanoo was formerly practiced in North Carolina and remnants still exist in Belize, Jamaica and, most commonly, Bermuda. Its capital, though, is the Bahamas and Nassau, Freeport and the Family Islands. Junkanoo's origins are obscure and much-debated; but likely conclusions include that African slaves were allowed celebrations only around Christmas-time, and chose to celebrate John Connu, a headman from 18th century Africa. Another theory is that the term derives from scrap metal or other objects (junk) used to create the distinctive goombay drum. Similar celebrations once existed cross the Caribbean and in North Carolina, but are now virtually extinct except in the Bahamas and Belize.

Goombay is a percussion music made famous by Alphonso 'Blind Blake' Higgs, who played to tourists arriving at Nassau International Airport for several years. Rake-and-scrape music is a unique type of instrumental music made by bending a saw and scraping with a small object, most typically a screwdriver; it is used to accompany dances derived from European forms like polka and waltz. Christian rhyming spirituals and the ant'ems of sponge fisherman are now mostly dead traditions, decimated by the arrival of pop music, a 1930s sponge blight and other causes.

The people of the Bahamas are known for their weaving of palm leaves, known as "straw". Bahamian straw workers typically start their craft at an early age, learning at the feet of their mothers and grandmothers. Take a close look at a straw product and you will begin to understand the intricacies of the weaves that carry names such as peas ‘n rice, Bahama Mama, Jacob’s ladder, sour sop, pineapple and fish pot. The straw starts as a green leaf hand-picked from a silver top tree and then stripped of its rough sides before it can be plaited. It is a time-consuming process. The more involved plaits, such as pineapple, can cost a straw worker $60 per 20 yard length.  Sisal, which comes from the sisal plant and has a twine-like texture, is even more time consuming to prepare. It is cut, stripped and soaked in sea water for two weeks or longer, then beaten out, scraped and cleaned. The end result: a one-of-a-kind product that is 100% Bahamian except for the lining and the thread

Visitors are usually pleasantly surprised by the wide range of foods offered throughout the region because the multicultural influences ensure that everyone is able to find something they like. Although virtually any type of international food can be found in the Bahamas, it would be a mistake to miss an opportunity to sample the local cuisine. No matter where you are, you won't have any difficulty finding plenty of restaurants serving Bahamian cuisine and fresh local seafood at reasonable prices. Fresh fish plays a major role in the cooking of the Bahamas. A popular dish is made from a shelled animal called a conch which is removed from its shell and cooked or eaten raw with some spices


This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License .
It uses material from the Wikipedia article " Culture of the Bahamas ".






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