Fiesta del Yancunoe

Yancunœ, Fiesta del

December 25-January 6
The Baile del Yancunú takes place in the northern coastal towns of Honduras around Christmas and Epiphany. Its roots lie in African folk traditions rather than in Christianity, however. It is said that performing the dance insures abundance in the coming year. This area of the country is inhabited mainly by Caribs, people who trace their ancestors back to African slaves imported from St. Vincent during the colonial era.
The dancers, all men, wear brightly colored long-sleeved shirts, skirts that resemble kilts, knee-high stockings, and masks made from metallic cloth and paint. Strings of seashells hang from various parts of their bodies, which make a rustling sound as they dance. There are six to 12 dancers in each group and four drummers who strike their instruments with their palms. Members of these groups speak in different dialects, which becomes apparent when they begin to dance, a performance they accompany by singing and yelling. Sometimes the dancers form a circle, with pairs in the center dancing the principal role.
See also Junkanoo Festival
CONTACTS:
Embassy of Honduras
3007 Tilden St. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008
202-966-7702; fax: 202-966-9751
www.hondurasemb.org
SOURCES:
FiestaTime-1965, p. 187