Ever since the 1920’s, Aruba has maintained the tradition to celebrate Carnival on a yearly basis. Although it started in small community centers, it quickly began gaining force to then become a whole parade full of partying, live music, live dancers, marching bands, carnival queen coronations and overall festivity. The whole island basically gets paralyzed and people begin thinking and breathing Carnival joy only. This year, Carnival turns 65 years old. If you want to learn about the biggest party in Aruba, read on to find out what makes Aruba Carnival such an amazing celebration.
Known for its exhilarating music, costumes and overall vibe, Carnival is one of the biggest celebrations in Aruba. Many people anxiously wait for the beginning of Carnival season, which officially began on January 5th with the radiating Torch Parade (Parada di Flambeu), commonly known as Fakkel Optocht. Traditionally, the Torch Parade was filled with, you guessed it, burning torches, but now people use flashing, colorful lights. It always takes place at night, which allows for the lights to shine so bright and beautiful; some people use lights on their clothing, hats, shoes, and even on their faces with special glow in the dark paint. It’s quite an opening ceremony.
You thought that was all? See, the thing is Aruba Carnival does not last one night, one day, one week or even one month. The Carnival goes throughout January and February, making it a two month celebration full of cultural wealth. Events ranging between queen elections, children’s’ parades, to masquerade parties and parade floats, Carnival is the most energizing and joyful time of the year. There is an event for all sorts of people, which is why everyone is invited.
Getting ready for Carnival means planning your most vibrant outfits with colorful costumes. Some people even dress up in groups coordinated as a theme. One of the best parts of attending Carnival, aside from enjoying the uplifting environment, is observing what others wear and how they decide to express themselves. You will get to learn a lot about the culture of the island
The Carnival continues on until the day before Ash Wednesday. That night, the celebration is called “Burning of King Momo”, and it’s where a life-sized statue of King Momo gets lit to symbolize the burning of the Spirit of the Carnival – who will come back next year for a new Carnival season.
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