Brilliant Bahamas Culture Facts That Everyone Should Know! | Kidadl


Brilliant Bahamas Culture Facts That Everyone Should Know!

Arts & Crafts
Learn more
Reading & Writing
Learn more
Math & Logic
Learn more
Sports & Active
Learn more
Music & Dance
Learn more
Social & Community
Learn more
Mindful & Reflective
Learn more
Outdoor & Nature
Learn more
Read these Tokyo facts to learn all about the Japanese capital.

Comprising of roughly 97% of the Lucayan or Bahama Archipelago land and 88% population, the Commonwealth of the Bahamas is a sovereign country.

The Lucayans were the original inhabitants of the Bahamian Island, who lived across today’s Cuba, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, and Hispaniola. Christopher Columbus was the first reported person to have traveled to this island in 1492.

Shortly after him, the Spanish reached the Bahamas, and shipped out all residents to Hispaniola to be enslaved, resulting in the island being abandoned for over 125 years.

Today, this sovereign archipelagic state is comprised of about 700 islands, with the island of New Providence being the biggest and consisting of the Bahamian capital of Nassau, which is also the most populous city in all of the Bahamas. Whilst a British colony, the Bahamas was used by the British to house Loyalists and their slaves to work on cotton plantations. When slavery was abolished, in 1834 in the Bahamas, it became a safe haven for African slaves and refugees, welcoming even American slaves fleeing through Florida. The current day population is 90% Africans, visible in the cultural influence. Let’s look at some Bahamas culture facts related to the government, dance, national dishes, and other aspects of life in this country.

The Culture Of The Bahamas

The Bahamian culture is a clear expression of the lives of its inhabitants. This beautiful place is attractive because of its vibrant culture.

  • The culture of the Bahamas (formerly known as the Grand Bahamas) major influences are from West Africa, where the majority of its residents descended, there are also influences from Haitian immigrants, Americans, and British, who previously colonized the island.
  • The island gained governmental independence in 1973 through its leader, and the Father of the Nation, Sir Lynden O. Pindling. Although a constitutional monarchy remains, their Independence Day began July 10, 1973. The Bahamas Ministry consists of Queen Elizabeth II as the current monarch, represented locally by an appointed governor-general. The current Prime Minister is Philip Davis QC MP.
  • Bahamian people can be described as laid-back, easy-going, and hospitable people who are very friendly and welcoming in nature. Since this island is a tourist hotspot, the people are very warm towards tourists and quick to mingle with new and diverse people.
  • Known for its 2400 coral reefs, or cays, and 700 islands. The Bahamas is a dream vacation for many, and a favorite vacation spot amongst wealthier Americans. Located in the south east of Florida, New Providence Island, one of the major islands, provides easy access to the Bahamas.
  • Bahamian music is composed mostly of three types of music named goombay, junkanoo, and rake ‘n’ scrape. Another folk music form, known as the obeah, originating from Africa is practiced mainly in the Out Islands and is illegal on the mainland. The Out Islands handicraft culture is also unique, with a lot of basket weaving products available.
  • The Bahamian culture is also influenced by its history with pirates. During the 17th and 18th centuries, pirates were active in the Caribbean region, particularly in the Bahamas. This period is known as the Golden Era or the Golden Age. This pirate bounty ended around 1718, when a British governor and chief of Nassau was appointed, who brought an end to pirates looting merchant ships.
  • The Bahamas is also home to the world’s third-largest barrier reef in Andros Island, known as the Andros Barrier Reef.

Etiquette And Business Practices

Learn about business practices in the Bahamas here.

  • The Bahamas has a 90% literacy rate in major islands like New Providence and Nassau. The rate is slightly less in smaller islands and the Out Islands.
  • There are a lot of high-income professional practices in the Bahamas, primarily including medical-related careers like orthodontists, physicians, pediatricians, and other professionals like bank employees, judges, lawyers, professors, and more. The middle-class population is comprised of civil servants and small business owners. Tourism is a big economic booster in the Bahamas, businesses related to this field are always thriving. Tourism also benefits local shops and businesses like restaurants, pubs, cafes, and shopping destinations.

There are a lot of business-related etiquettes which must be practiced in the Bahamas, such as:

  • A firm and friendly handshake, accompanied by a smile is normal in the Bahamas.
  • Maintaining eye contact during the handshake and greeting is considered good manners. Allowing the female party to extend her hand in offering a handshake first is also proper etiquette in the Bahamas
  • Another common practice is using academic titles or professional names when addressing people.
  • Manners are judged on how one treats another person’s business cards. For example, writing on someone’s business cards, especially in front of them, is considered rude.

Apart from business etiquettes, some other manners, which tourists must be aware of include:

  • Handshaking with a friendly and welcoming smile, while maintaining eye contact.
  • Tipping is expected at all places, especially where you receive any form of service.
  • There are even gift-giving and partying etiquettes in the Bahamian culture, such as arriving on time, not delaying arrival by more than 15 minutes, being properly dressed for the occasion invited to, not sitting down to eat until instructed to, and so on.

Languages Spoken In The Bahamas

A range of languages are spoken in this beautiful country.

  • The official language of the Bahamas is English, however, the Bahamian dialect, also known as Bahamianese is spoken colloquially.
  • The African influence is noticeable in Bahamianese, as some words from African languages are part of the Bahamian dialect. Other languages spoken there are Bahamian Creole and Haitian Creole.
Discover interesting facts about Bahamian society here

Bahamian Society

Discover interesting facts about Bahamian society here.

  • Bahamian society is a mix of a few cultures. African being the primary culture, followed by British and American, and about 3% of the population are of Hispanic and Asian descent.
  • The majority of Bahamians are Roman Catholic, Protestant, or Baptist. 95% of the population consists of Christians, who are deeply devoted to their religion, resulting in Christmas time being a vibrant holiday in the Bahamas.
  • The Bahamian society is focused on a lot of things. Music is important, so is art, literature and poetry, sports, and even food. All of these elements together weave the fabric of the Bahamian society, contributing to its vibrancy. On a hot summer day, people would offer you a glass of switcha, which is the Bahamian word for lemonade. Switcha is made from limes instead of lemons and can be a little sourer than lemonade.
  • Music forms have their specific purposes. For example, music is played at a Junkanoo during public holidays like Boxing Day, Emancipation Day, and New Years Day. Junkanoo is a form of a parade, composed of music and dance in colorful costumes, and primarily can be seen practiced in Nassau.
  • The Regatta is one of the most important social events, primarily observed in the Out Islands, which are also known as Family Islands. The Regatta was started to keep Bahamian sailing traditions alive and celebrate the country's Independence Day. The Regatta can extend for more than one day, featuring onshore festivals and sailing on old-fashioned workboats.
  • Rake ‘n’ scrape was derived from a combination of European and African music, developed in an Out Island named Cat Island. It is mainly a folk form of music and is used in folk festivals, operas, and such.
  • The Bahamian society is big on sports, which is clear from their superior performance in several Olympic sports like boxing, yachting, swimming, and more.
  • The Bahamas is also known for practicing bush medicine, which uses indigenous plants for medicinal purposes. Bahamians learned this practice from their ancestors, who inherited it from West Africa. There are nearly 100 plants in the Bahamas that locals consider reliable sources of medical treatment. Many Bahamians use aloe vera as a pain reliever, laxative, and to treat burns.

The Bahamian Communication Style

Communication is important to learn about if you ever wish to visit the Bahamas.

  • Humor is a big part of the Bahamian communication style, but it is used based on who you are talking to and in what context. Their style in communication can be defined as musical and lyrical, which is unique to this part of the world.
  • Bahamians are also adept at changing their communication style based on whom they are communicating with. Their communication style is usually very casual and informal.
  • A native greeting to Bahamians, involves asking each other, 'What’s going on?' by using the phrase, 'What da wybe is?' To let their peers know that everything is well, they use the sentence, 'It’s all good.'
Written By
Supriya Jain

<p>As a skilled member of the Kidadl team, Shruti brings extensive experience and expertise in professional content writing. With a Bachelor's degree in Commerce from Punjab University and an MBA in Business Administration from IMT Nagpur, Shruti has worked in diverse roles such as sales intern, content writer, executive trainee, and business development consultant. Her exceptional writing skills cover a wide range of areas, including SOP, SEO, B2B/B2C, and academic content.</p>

Read The Disclaimer

Was this article helpful?