The culture of the Bahamas is characterized by African, Caribbean, European, and American influences, while the Out Islands have developed their own traditions, folklore, and arts. Music is generally considered one of the nation’s most important cultural exports, with acts like the Baha Men and Ronnie Butler enjoying immense global appeal. The traditional music scene, including local styles like rake and scrape, soca, and the ever-popular calypso, serve as a wonderful introduction to Bahamian culture. The Bahamas have more churches per capita than any other nation on earth, and religious capital is important. Folklore and oral traditions have enjoyed something of a revival in recent years, while the islands have long been known for tremendous arts and crafts.
There’s such a thing as too much sun and surf (especially if you forgot your sunblock), even in an island paradise like the Bahamas. Fortunately, there’s plenty to enjoy on solid ground. The islands have a history of hosting tremendous Caribbean carnivals that last for a month and take over city streets. The best known is the Junkanoo celebration on Boxing Day, a celebration of folk art with roots that date back to the 16th century. The largest Junkanoo street festival takes place annually in Nassau. The Fox Hill Day Freedom Festival is held on the second weekend in August and includes the important Emancipation Day Memorial Service. The three-day Andros Crab Festival runs the first week of June at Fresh Creek, while the Bahamas International Film Festival is held every December. The Eleuthera Pineapple Festival, first held in Gregory Town in 1988, now welcomes more than 5,000 visitors to the islands during the first week of June. The Coconut Festival is held around the same time.