How Do People in the Bahamas Celebrate Christmas?

people-bahamas-celebrate-christmas Credit: Gail Frederick/CC-BY 2.0

Christmas is celebrated in the Bahamas in the same way that it is celebrated in many other countries with gift-giving, celebrations, feasting and giving Christmas cards. Popular feasting foods around the Christmas holiday include black cake, ham and apples, and drinks such as ginger beer and fermented sweet potato fly. While Christmas is widely celebrated, Boxing Day, which is the day after Christmas, and New Year's Day bring larger celebrations.

Even though the weather is typically warm during Christmas, there is still a Christmas spirit in the air throughout the Bahamas during the holidays. Carnivals and festivals on Christmas day are popular in many areas, but the Junkanoo parades the following day or on Christmas are typically larger. The Junkanoo parade commemorates Boxing Day, which is the traditional day that slaves were given the boxes leftover from their master's gifts. In present times, this holiday is celebrated by large festivals that most often include intricately costumed participants with handmade costumes style from bits of crepe paper. Boxing Day is also a time in present day that people box up gifts and distribute them to people in need. Large crowds gather for these festivities, and the parades are accompanied by dancing, colorful clothing and masks.