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Junkanoo joins UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage List

Written by on December 22, 2023

(Caribbean National Weekly) – Junkanoo, the vibrant and colorful festival native to The Bahamas, has achieved a significant milestone. It has been officially inscribed on UNESCO’s List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) of Humanity. 

The Bahamas’ distinctive honor in the Caribbean

The Bahamas now joins an exclusive group of only four Caribbean nations represented on UNESCO’s ICH list, which includes a total of 145 countries. 

This inscription is a testament to Junkanoo’s unique cultural significance and its role in showcasing the rich heritage of the Caribbean region.

Preserving the essence of Junkanoo

In light of this achievement, the Bahamian Minister of Education and Technical and Vocational Training has emphasized the need to maintain Junkanoo’s authentic spirit. 

The concern is to prevent the festival from becoming overly commercialized, thus preserving its original cultural essence. The Minister highlighted the importance of safeguarding this organic culture for future generations.

Gratitude for dedication and effort

The successful inscription, a process that spanned two years, was made possible through the dedicated efforts of the Junkanoo Committee. 

The Bahamian government expressed its gratitude for the committee’s unwavering commitment and the pivotal role it played in achieving this recognition.

A global stage for Junkanoo

The decision to include Junkanoo in the ICH list was made by the UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee during its 18th Session for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Heritage. 

This session took place in Botswana on December 5, 2023, marking a significant moment in the history of Bahamian culture and its global recognition

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