The holiday festivities here in Hope Town continued after Christmas. This is one town that really knows how to make the most of the holidays! After the Boxing Day race, there was a golf cart parade between Christmas and New Years. Golf carts are the major form of transportation on Elbow Cay, other than feet or bicycles. We have seen one or two golf cart parking lots for people to park their carts because there is no space near the homes, especially on the tiny narrow streets of the settlement.
Hope Town held a Junior Junkanoo Parade on New Year’s Eve. Junkanoo is a national festival in the Bahamas believed to have begun with the emigration of Loyalists to the Bahamas in the late 18th Century. The slaves brought to the islands by the Loyalists were given a special holiday at Christmas time, when they could leave the plantations to be with their family and celebrate with African dance, music and costumes. After slavery ended, the tradition continued and, today, Junkanoo has evolved from its simple origins to a formal, more organized parade with fancy intricate costumes, music and prizes. Nassau has the largest Junkanoo festival on Boxing Day an looks pretty impressive from the photos I have seen, but little Hope Town’s Junior Junkanoo parade on New Year’s Eve had its own charm. The children wore their costumes proudly, danced, and beat on homemade drums. The rhythm was infectious. It may not have been as fancy as the famous adult Junkanoo in Nassau, but it was enjoyable, and perhaps even more special, to see the children participating in the national custom.
We aren’t New Year’s Eve people, so we went to bed at our normal cruising time – dare I admit on the blog that our bedtime is usually 8-9 pm? It’s dark, there’s really no tv, and we are tired from sun and water activities. For this night, we set an alarm so that we would wake up for the midnight Hope Town fireworks. At 11:30 pm we got up and sat in the cockpit, opening a bottle of champagne to welcome in 2014. We watched the fireworks right from our boat – they were quite good, especially with such a front row seat. We sat up until after 1 pm, listening to the live bands and parties in the settlement and at the marina nearby.
After a later than usual New Year’s Eve for us, January 1, 2014 began quietly. We started the day (and year) with a walk on the beach and went for a swim.
Continuing our family tradition, even here in the Bahamas, I planned a pork and sauerkraut dinner for New Year’s Day. My grandparents always had pork and sauerkraut on January 1st to ensure good luck in the new year. My sons have continued the tradition so I made sure that this year was no different for us, even in my tiny galley. We invited Marcia and Dan to join our customary New Year’s Day meal. We even had freshly baked gingerbread with lemon sauce and whipped cream for dessert. 2014 should be a good year! Here’s to you, Nana and Pop-Pop! We haven’t forgotten the tradition.