"New Year's in Aruba is brought in with a huge bang. There is a tradition on the island of lighting firecrackers and fireworks on New Year's Eve. The noise of the firecrackers and fireworks are thought to rid oneself of the evil spirits from the past year in order to begin the New Year anew.
The pagara, a string of Chinese firecrackers is one of the popular parts of the Aruban culture. The story has it that the longer the length of the pagara, the more successful the family or business has been in the past year. Thus the more money you have, the longer length of pagara you are able to afford to purchase.
Businesses in Aruba light the pagara at the close of their business day on December 31 and families traditionally light their's to coincide with the ending big bang going off a midnight. The most popular pagara in Aruba is the one which runs along the waterfront down LG Smith Boulevard in the afternoon on New Year's Eve." from BloggingtoAruba.com
This pagara at the Amsterdam Manor was preceded by champagne and hors d'oeuvres for the staff and followed by a dande group.
"The name dande, also spelled dandee, comes from the Papiamento word, dandara, meaning to revel, to carouse, or to have a good time. After King William III of the Netherlands declared slaves to be free, the celebration began.
A group of five or six people usually performs these rituals, though more can join in. These people accompany a singer and travel door-to-door to express their best wishes for the New Year. Repetitive songs, with the chorus which includes the phrase "ai nobe"(aña nobo) – "new year" – sung after each phrase. The celebratory travel usually leads to the houses of the singers' friends and family, where the host collects money in his hat to give to the group. Certain districts may have their own dande groups performing on the second day of the year." from BloggingtoAruba.com