Junkanoo Festival

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Our Geo Quiz sends us in search of the largest city in the Bahamas. The annual Junkanoo Festival takes place across the islands, but the main revelry occurs in this city's downtown. Scott Gurian sent us this audio postcard.

KATY CLARK: Finally today our Geoquiz sends us in search of the largest city in the Bahamas. The annual Junkanoo Festival takes place across the islands but the main revelry occurs in this city's downtown. Dancers parade through the streets in the early morning hours of December 26th every year. This tradition dates back to the 17th century when slaves were granted their freedom for the day. Once again we're looking for the largest city and the capital of the Bahamas. Here are some sounds from this year's Junkanoo Festival for you to think about.


KATY: Time's up. We were looking for the city in the Bahamas where the annual Junkanoo Festival takes place. The answer is Nassau, and reporter Scott Gurian was there at this year's celebration.

SCOTT GURIAN: I'm standing in Parliament Square just off Day Street in Nassau in the Bahamas. As I'm reporting this it's 2:00 a.m. on Boxing Day, the day after Christmas and usually the streets would be pretty quiet at this time of night, but this is the first morning of the annual Junkanoo celebration so the party's just getting started. I'm looking out here on tons of people lining the streets along barricades and groups of people wearing colorful costumes made of cardboard and crepe paper dancing through the streets and playing music. I spoke to a few people to get a sense of just what the Junkanoo's about.

SAKATO: My name is [PH] Sakato. John [INDISCERNIBLE] to stay from Nassau for come he came in during the slavery time. He was a leader of the slave revolt against the slave masters. They had their freedom on two times of the year, which is Boxing Day and New Years Day so that they had their be able to be free and be able to do their own history and how they came from Africa so they beat the drums and had enough dance and all that to celebrate life.

KISLANE O'BRIEN: My name is [PH] Kislane O'Brien. There is no other parade in the world like Junkanoo with the colors and the majesty of paper. Think about it. A Junkanoo costume is made out of just cardboard and crepe paper with some glue. It's reasonably the element of surprise but also the creativity of the Bahamian people.

SALVADOR: My name is Salvador on the part of the Factors Junkanoo Group in Nassau. So basically this was our call band, goatskin drum, sousaphone, trombone, saxophone, I describe it as an orchestra.


SALVADOR: Junkanoo is authentic to the Bahamas. It's our expression; it is what we are known for and by. When you hear the music you have to move, you know. And music is that science that makes you express all the passions and stuff that's in you, and that's what Junkanoo does to you. It comes from the heart.


KATY: Sounds from the Junkanoo Festival in the Bahamas. Don't worry if you miss this year's celebration. You still have a chance to catch the Junkanoo New Year's Day parade in Nassau. It begins at 1:00 a.m. on January 1st, 2010.


KATY: From the Ann and Bill Harris studios at WGBH in Boston, I'm Katy Clark. Join us again tomorrow for another spin of The World.