Eat your heart out Disneyland, because during the Holidays the real magic happens here … on the One Happy Island! Bring your entire family down here to enjoy some of the best beaches of the Caribbean, gorgeous weather all year round and all the festivities Aruba Holidays have to offer! Read all about how we celebrate Christmas and where to go for New Year's.
Irrespective of the Holidays, Aruba is one of the best family destinations in the Caribbean. Our naturally calm sea, safe drinking water and ease of travel (direct flights from most US airports) are some of the main reasons families choose Aruba as their vacation destinations for generations on end. Then throw in our kid-friendly resorts, unique family activities and our One Happy Family program and you have the complete family vacation package that will keep your kids entertained and active throughout their entire Aruba vacation.
Saint Nicholas Day
Starting off the holiday month of December is the Sinterklaas celebration on the 5th, an old Dutch celebration tradition that the Arubans have inherited and celebrate every year. Similar to Santa Claus, Sinterklaas is a white bearded man and with his helpers he spoils Aruban children with sweets, candies and presents. Whereas the US the tradition tells children to put up their stockings from the fireplace, the Dutch tradition tells kids to put their shoe outside on the porch, filled with grass and a bowl of water for Amerigo, Sinterklaas’s horse.
Dec 6th - Dec 14th
The majority of Arubans are Roman Catholics but there are many other religions practiced and celebrated here, such as the Jewish holiday Hannukah. The synagogue and Jewish community center Beth Israel in downtown Oranjestad and the Chabad center in Noord have many religious and cultural activities surrounding this 8 day celebration.
Sunday the 13th of December at 6 pm there are two Hannukah parties taking place that are open to the public:
- Hanukkah Community Celebration at Paseo Herencia: Songs, rikudim, and hanukkah donuts Guest singer: Yaacov, from Costa Rica and local musicians. For more information: http://www.bethisraelaruba.com/
- Let it Glow Hannukah party at Playa Linda Plaza: Live music, donuts, arts ‘n crafts and more. For more information visit: http://www.jewisharuba.com/
Dec 25th – Dec 26th (Boxing Day)
Some say that the best time to visit Aruba is during the holiday season. And with good reason! Aruba turns into a magical place during the month of December when not only all the roundabouts on the island get decorated with Christmas lights, virtually every Aruban decorates their own house with these festive lights.
An Aruban Christmas consists out of elaborate family dinners with Ayacas and Christmas ham, going to mass on Christmas Eve and enjoying a performance or two of a local Gaita band- our local version of Christmas carols - at shopping malls and other island businesses as well as in private residences.
What should definitely be on your list is a visit to the Cas di Luz, or House of Lights in Seroe Preto San Nicolas which is a main family attraction during the Holidays. On top of the hill you will see a beautiful display of the nativity scene in full ornament. Visit the Local Holidays page to read all about our local traditions.
Dec 31st – January 1st
Celebrating the New Years on Aruba is an experience of a lifetime! Throughout the day on December 31st, hotels and businesses’ around the island celebrate a yearly tradition of lighting up a long string of firecrackers called ‘Pagara’, laid out on the road that ends with a Big Bang (pun intended)! The biggest and most popular pagaras can be seen at the Renaissance Aruba Resort and the Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino.
At the stroke of midnight, make sure you are somewhere high up, like your hotel balcony, roof, the California Lighthouse or for the more adventurous at heart the Hooiberg - a high alone standing hill in the middle of Aruba of which you better climb the 600 steps sober, I repeat sober! Why so high? Because at the turn of the year all of Aruba turns into a pandemonium of fireworks lighting up the entire sky! Sip some Ponche Crema (Aruban Eggnog) and usher in the New Year Aruba style!
New year’s beach parties are plentiful as well! The Ritz Carlton Aruba is famous for its annual New Year’s beach party and the largest fireworks show of the hotel strip. Other venues that are hot that evening are Moomba Beach, Bugaloe Beach Bar and there are also local DJ’s at the Fisherman’s Huts.
No matter where you go, as long as you are outside on the beach enjoying the amazing fireworks together with friends and family; you will have a sensational New Years celebration!