Get into the spirit of Aruba’s biggest party of the year - a month-long celebration with festive street parties known as “jump-ups” and spectacular parades. Lovelies of all ages strut their stuff at Carnival Queen elections, competing for the coveted crown. Aruba Carnivals events are remembered for their powerful music. Winning songs selected at carnival competitions in Aruba include the best calypso with politically-charged lyrics and social commentaries, and the best road march with catchy lyrics and melodies and movements all perform together. Years later, many still “do the wiper”, “hit the floor”, and “jump with your towel!” Grand Parades in San Nicolas and Oranjestad are the biggest celebration parties of the season and shut down both cities.
Under the blazing sun, marchers in resplendent feathered and sequined regalia are joined by imaginative rolling road pieces and huge music machines on wheels. Some carnival groups in Aruba have hundreds of participants. Lining the streets along the routes of the Grand Parades are trailers of all shapes and sizes; many spectators are also happy just to stand at the side of the road. A spirit of camaraderie and happy anticipation is felt by all as the hours of waiting are filled with food and drink, greeting and socializing. Carnival in Aruba is way too much fun to miss!
Here are some highlights of the wild and wonderful Aruba Carnival celebrations and parades ahead: The Lighting Parade is a twinkling nighttime extravaganza.
Tiny lights sewn into costumes create a magical effect as marchers make their way along the Aruba carnival parade route. The afternoon Children’s Parades feature groups of adorable miniature marchers in creative and colorful costumes. These are professional productions organized and overseen by parents. The Grand Carnival Parade inAruba's second capital San Nicolas begins with jouvert morning, a combination pajama party and jump-up, beginning in the wee hours and lasting until dawn. The Grand Carnival Parade in Oranjestad takes place on the following day, making for an exhausting but exhilarating weekend. This is the largest and longest of all the Aruba Carnival parades with the most spectators and participants. The midnight burning of King Momo, a life-size effigy of the spirit of Aruba'sCarnival, signals the end of the season. Rivaling that of Rio de Janeiro and New Orleans, Aruba’s Carnival is a thrilling show of over-the-top pageantry 60 years in the making. Click here to learn more about Carnival history.