S4 EP3 Exactly What is Bahamian Culture?

1h 39m | Jul 9, 2021

As we approach our country's 48th Independence, we pause to reflect on what differentiates us from the rest of The West Indies and the rest of the world.

  1. What is Bahamian Culture?
  2. The Bahamas has a distinct culture which has evolved over generations, from a mixture of mostly African, combined with some British and American influences, which developed into a unique and colourful style of Bahamian self-expression.

Bahamians are best described as easy-going, friendly and hospitable. The adult literacy rate, in The Bahamas, is over 90% and the country has experienced a rapid growth in the professional class and university educated workforce. English is the official language of The Bahamas, with a local dialect called ‘Bahamianese or Bahamian Dialect’ being spoken colloquially. Source –

Bahamian culture is joy personified. It is a Junkanoo celebration, parading down the street. It’s bold and colourful art. Our culture is a fresh conch salad, a lively rake ‘n’ scrape tune, a welcoming smile from a stranger. Discover a glimpse into our culture. Source –

  1. Where does the name come from?
  2. The name Bahamas derives from the Spanish baja ("shallow") and mar ("sea"). Source:

  3. When you hear Bahamian Culture, Junkanoo is usually the first thing that comes to mind. So what is Junkanoo? (Include Other Genres)
  4. It is a type of street celebration which occurs on December 26 (Boxing Day) and New Year's Day (January 1), and on similar dates on the family islands. This traditional celebration was started with an African slave by the name of John Canoe. Slaves were given a special holiday at Christmas time, when they could leave the work of the plantation behind and celebrate their freedoms. Source - Wikipedia

  5. Language ( Bahamian Dialect AKA Bahamianese)
  6. English is the official language of the Bahamas. A vast majority of the population speaks Bahamian Dialect, which is a dialect of English intermediate between Standard English and Bahamian Creole. There are some minor regional differences from island to island in terms of pronunciation, but generally all are the same.

African influence & Gullah/Geechee Connections

In Bahamian dialect, some African words and expressions have been retained, such as:

  1. yinna - you (plural)
  2. nanny - (v.n.)- feces or the act of defecation
  3. muddo/muddasick – A exclamation of disbelief
  4. Jumbay - ghost, related to the Kongo word nzumbi of similar meaning
  5. Yam - to eat, still in use in some southern and eastern islands, related to the African word nyam'
  6. Bey - meaning boy or a young boy or young lady
  7. Boongie/Boonkey – Your rear end (usually a woman's)

Wind from The Carolinas (Book)

  1. Food, Cuisine, Native Dishes & Beverages

  2. Religion & Education
  3. Statistically speaking, major Protestant denominations include Baptists/Evangelicals (30 percent), Pentecostals (23 percent) Anglicans (10 percent), Seventh-day Adventists (5 percent), and Methodists (4 percent).[2] Although many unaffiliated Protestant congregations are almost exclusively black, most mainstream churches are integrated racially.[2] There are significant Roman Catholic (14 percent) and Greek Orthodox populations.[2] Smaller JewishBaháʼíJehovah's Witness and Muslim communities also are active.[2] A small number of Bahamians and Haitians, particularly those living in the Family Islands, practice Obeah, a form of African shamanism.[2] A small number of citizens identify themselves as Rastafarians.[2] Some members of the small resident Guyanese and Indian populations practice Hinduism and other South Asian religions.[2]

More than 91 percent of the population of the Bahamas professes a religion, and anecdotal evidence suggests that most attend services regularly. Source - Wikipedia

  1. Hospitality & Tourism
  2. Etiquette and Customs in the Bahamas (Manners)
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