Junkanoo or John Canoe (also spelled "Jankunu" and "Jangkunu") is a festival that started during the slaves era by the Akan people from West Africa, as a dedication to John Kenu, an Akan warrior from Axim in Ghana. This festival is still practised in parts of the USA and the Caribbean, particularly Jamaica and The Bahamas. It also takes place in Ghana’s coastal region among the Fante people.
As a child in Jamaica I looked forward to seeing the Junkanoo parade shortly after Christmas day. However, I watched them from a distance, since their bizarre costumes and vigorous dance movements were scary. Each band was led by a small group of musicians with drums and fifes, followed a procession of dancers in costumes symbolic of John Kenu’s legend. Junkanoo parades are probably less scary than the Swiss Harder- Potschete parade at Interlaken on January 2nd. Nevertheless, they both provide wonderful entertainment and are great attractions for all ages. Small cash donations to Junkanoo band members are always well received.
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