Culture of Bahamas

Bahamian culture is a hybrid of African and European influences. Perhaps its greatest expression is a rhythmic form of music called Junkanoo. Aside from Junkanoo, other indigenous forms of music include rake and scrape, calypso, and a unique form of hymnal, known internationally through the music of the late Joseph Spence.

Marching bands are also an important part of life, playing at funerals, weddings and other ceremonial events. The country’s first movie, Filthy Rich Gangster, was written and directed by a Bahamian named Jimmy Curry, who also wrote, produced and performed the regions first Hip Hop and Junkanoo Hip Hop records. Curry was also the first Bahamian signed to legendary American record label Sugar Hill Records. His firm is also re-releasing several of their movies including: Filthy Rich Gangster; Gun Lordz and others. In addition to movie and television productions, he has produced concerts, sporting events, and is the founder of the Bahamian American Arts Festival.

In the less developed outer islands – islands outside the capital Nassau, known as the Out Islands or Family Islands – crafts include basketry made from palm fronds. This material, commonly called straw, is also plaited into hats and bags that are popular tourist items today.
Regattas are important social events in many family island settlements. They usually feature one or more days of sailing by old-fashioned work boats, as well as an onshore festival.

Some settlements have festivals associated with the traditional crop or food of that area, such as the Pineapple Fest in Gregory Town, Eleuthera or the Crab Fest on Andros. Other significant traditions include story telling.

A strongly religious country, there are more places of worship per person in the Bahamas than many other nations in the world. The islands are overwhelmingly Anglican Christian (over 80%). Baptists form the largest denomination (about one third), followed by the Roman Catholic churches. As of 2006, one out of every 191 Bahamian citizens in the population was a Jehovah’s Witness

A few people, especially in the southern and eastern islands, practice Obeah, a spiritistic religion similar to Voodoo. Voodoo is also practiced by the large number of people from Haiti, Cuba, Jamaica, and Dominican Republic.

Officially, the national sport of the Bahamas is cricket. Though still the most popular, its popularity has declined. Sailing and Track and field athletics are also popular sports in the country. Football and rugby also have strong followings while American sports such as basketball, softball, baseball and American football are gaining in popularity.

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