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Jonkannu is an African-derived religious-cultural tradition that preserves African spiritual practices in various parts of the Caribbean. Academic discourse has painted the tradition of Jonkannu primarily as a festival. However, Jonkannu, which incorporates masquerading—the African practice of wearing masks and costumes—is more than a festival. It is a Pan-African tradition that confirms the transplantation of complex spiritual beliefs centered on the appearance of ancestors and the embodiment of the spirit.


Jonkannu can be traced back to many regions in Africa; it is connected to initiation rites, ancestral rites, and social governance practices. It honors the ancestors as it recognizes that human beings comprise the visible world and that ancestors, spirits, divinities, and the Supreme Being occupy the invisible. Enslaved Africans in the ...

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