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Carnival has been celebrated every year since the beginning of the 20th century in Aruba.
You probably know what Carnival is, but I can assure you it’s so much more! The parades and beautiful costumes are just a part of it. It’s a sequence of all kinds of festive activities in which we locals dance into the new year. The first-ever Carnival parade took place in San Nicolas, initiated by immigrants from Trinidad and other British islands in the Caribbean. Nowadays, it’s something the whole island looks forward to starting in November of every year. In this blog, I’ll share some Carnival tips so you can get the most out of the party season while visiting the One Happy Carnival Island!
The best way to keep track of all the Carnival activities is to check out our calendar of events on Aruba.com. Carnival starts with the “torch parade,” which brings the “spirit” of Carnival to life. It’s held on the first Saturday after New Year’s day. The days following the torch parade are filled with different activities, such as the Carnival queen elections and musical events. The Carnival queens, from different age groups, are then featured in the upcoming parades in Noord, Oranjestad, and San Nicolas. If you happen to be in Aruba during the Carnival season, you must experience the parades firsthand. The Carnival parades are nothing without the thousands of spectators, after all. I’ll list out the most notable ones below!
As a kid, this was my favourite! My grandma’s house was located on the parade route, and my entire family would meet up there to watch it together. My cousins and I would wear any costume that was popular at the moment. Picture me in a pink Power Ranger costume. Yeah, I’m old. This parade is the perfect introduction to Carnival. It’s not too long; people are pretty mellow since most are preparing for the lighting parade that same night, and you get to see cute kids in cute costumes.
This parade is during the nighttime and is my second favourite of them all. Not only because the temperature is cooler at night (and I hate sweating) but because the lights are really a unique sight. Participants decorate their costumes with little string lights and dance the night away. Groups go all out with their floats, and they become these magically lit works of art. Remember that if you are an early bird, opt to stand on Vondellaan because the parade won't pass by completely until about 2am on L. G. Smith Boulevard.
The name says it all: GRAND! It’s the main Carnival event, and it’s what spectators and participants look forward to the most. Get ready to see the most beautiful costumes, colourful feathers, and happy people. I challenge you to find an unhappy-looking person during the parade! It’s really a whole community coming together and celebrating life. Both drunk and sober. Make sure you secure your spot on time, as it will get very crowded very quickly!
For the daytime parades, make sure you wear sunscreen and pack cold beverages! Please Contact us for more information.
Please don’t forget!
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