New Year’s Sailing Regattas
New Year in the Bahamas is marked by two key sailing regattas. On January 1st and 2nd, upwards of 40 sloops, ranging in length from 5 to 8.5 metres, participate in the New Year’s Sailing Regatta, racing across Montagu Bay. Also on New Year’s Day, the Staniel Cay New Year’s Day Cruising Regatta is held in Exuma.
Nassau Classic Car Festival
In early January, classic cars are the focus of a festival held in the streets of Nassau and nearby Paradise Island.
Majority Rule Day
January 10th is a public holiday on which the island nation celebrates equality for all Bahamians.
Bahamas Princess Resort and Casino Crystal Pro-Am Golf Tournament
The Crystal Pro-Am Golf Tournament is held annually at the Bahamas Princess Resort and Casino on Grand Bahama Island. This is one of the top golf tournaments in the Caribbean, with a grand prize of $100,000.
Farmer's Cay Festival
On the first Friday in February, Farmer’s Cay Festival – also known as 5Fs – is held in Little Farmer’s Cay on Exuma. This homecoming festival features good food, Bahamian Class-C sloop races, school band performances and a range of games and family activities. Boat excursions to the festival are offered from Nassau.
Rum Cay Day Festival
The annual Rum Cay Day Festival is held at Port Nelson on Rum Cay. The festival features family entertainment, great food and games.
Bahamian Music and Heritage Festival
Each March, local people in Exuma celebrate their heritage with cultural activities such as singing and other musical performances, poetry readings and exhibits of local arts and crafts.
George Town Cruising Regatta
At the end of February or the beginning of March, upwards of 500 yachts participate in the George Town Cruising Regatta at Exuma, with plenty of shore-side activities to keep spectators entertained.
Bacardi Rum Cup
The Bacardi Rum Cup is held over two days on Nassau and Paradise Island. It features a performance by the Royal Bahamas Police Force Band, as well as a range of sailing and other competitions.
Easter is an important holiday in the Bahamas. Many people attend church services on Good Friday, and fish is served as the main meal. Easter Monday is traditionally celebrated with picnics or cookouts on the beach, and there are a number of homecoming events and regattas on the Out Islands.
Bahamas Heritage Festival
The Bahamas Heritage Festival focuses on the culture of the islands, and features traditional music, dance, and storytelling. The Great Bahamas Seafood Festival is a part of this event, which takes place at the end of April or beginning of March on Nassau/Paradise Island.
Island Roots Heritage Festival
In May, the people of Green Turtle Cay celebrate both their African roots and their Loyalist heritage, with a parade, a conch cracking festival, re-enactments of fierce pirate battles, a tug-of-war and other games, along with plenty of good food.
On the first Friday in June, Labor Day is marked with a lively parade organised by labor unions and political parties in downtown Nassau.
In June, Gregory Town on the island of Eleuthera celebrates the island’s juicy pineapples, with pineapple eating and cooking contests, a Junkanoo parade, craft exhibits, a triathlon event and tours of pineapple farms.
On July 10th, all islands in the Bahamas celebrate their independence (achieved in 1973) with parades, performances and fireworks.
Bahamas Emancipation Day
On the first Monday in August, Bahamians celebrate the 1834 emancipation of slaves in the British colonies. Festivities and regattas are held throughout the islands, with the celebrations in Fox Hill Village, Nassau, being a particular highlight. The day begins at 4 a.m. with a “Junkanoo Rush-out”. This is followed by cookouts, competitions, like climbing a greased pole, and plaiting of the Maypole.
Bahamas Atlantis Superboat Challenge
The Bahamas Superboat Challenge is an international race for superboats, starting from Paradise Island.
North Eleuthera Sailing Regatta
Taking place in mid-October, the North Eleuthera Sailing Regatta sees native sloops participate in a number of weekend races in the waters off North Eleuthera, Harbour Island and Spanish Wells.
The Conch Festival celebrates the country’s favourite food with a range of conch cracking events, cook-offs and live music and dancing.
International Cultural Festival
Held at the Botanical Gardens on the island of New Providence, the International Cultural Festival is a week-long celebration of cultures from around the world, with international foods and live entertainment.
Bahamas National Trust Wine and Art Festival
Hosted at the Bahamas National Trust Retreat Gardens, this festival includes exhibits by Bahamian artists, along with sampling of more than 50 wines offered by Bristol Wine & Spirits.
Hosted by the Bimini Big Game Fishing Club, the Wahoo Smackdown is a chance for anglers from around the globe to compete for large cash prizes in a number of categories, including biggest catch.
Great Bahamas Seafood and Heritage Festival
Held in Heritage Village, Arawak Cay, the Great Bahamas Seafood and Heritage Festival is an opportunity to sample a range of fish and seafood dishes, and to enjoy traditional Bahamian music and storytelling.
Bahamas International Film Festival
Held in early December, the Bahamas International Film Festival has been held each year since 2004. It showcases world cinema, along with the works of Caribbean filmmakers. As well as film screenings, the festival includes opening and closing galas, forums and discussion panels.
Most famous of all festivities in the Bahamas is the annual Junkanoo, a colourful parade and street party held on December 26th to celebrate freedom from slavery and the Bahamian people’s African roots. Expect colourful costumes, lively music, dancing and energetic partying. Similar parades are held again on New Year’s Day.