There are a wide array of holidays celebrated in Black households in December, aside from Christmas. Here’s a list of a few of them and their backstories, as compiled by Essence.
Junkanoo, spelled various ways, including Jankunu and John Canoe, is a lively cultural festival with origins dating back to the 1700s in the Bahamas, Belize, South Carolina and Jamaica. With a name that’s said to have been based on a revered West African chief, John Canoe, Junkanoo is known for its colorful celebrations during Christmastime.
Masquerade, known for its origin in religious festivals of the Igbo and Yoruba tribes of Nigeria, takes place throughout the Caribbean during the Christmas holiday. It’s celebrated with energetic sounds of masquerade bands through the islands’ streets with dancing, drumming and elaborate costumes.
Winneba Fancy Dress Festival is a masquerade celebration held in Ghana. Known locally as Kakamotobi, and derived from contact with Dutch colonizers, every January 1 Ghanaians in Winneba dress up in extravagant costumes and masks as a way to honor their heritage.
Parang is celebrated in Trinidad and Tabago during the holiday season, with groups of parang bands that go house to house, spreading holiday cheer by singing folk melody Christmas songs. Called paranging, it often takes place from early October to early January.
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