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Aruba's Carnival is the biggest party of the year – a month-long celebration with spectacular processions.
Get into the spirit of Aruba’s biggest party of the year – a month-long celebration with festive street parties known as “jump-ups”, Carnival queen competitions where lovelies of all ages strut their stuff and spectacular processions!
Aruba Carnival 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 parade march with catchy lyrics, melodies and dance all performed at once. Timeless hits such as “do the wiper”, “hit the floor” and “jump with your towel" are still popular years later.
Grand processions in San Nicolas and Oranjestad are the biggest celebration parties of the season and both cities come to a standstill for them. Under the blazing sun, marchers in resplendent feathered and sequined regalia are joined by imaginative floats and huge music machines on wheels. Each procession consists of about 10 to 15 Carnival groups, each with its own theme reflected by the group's floats and costumes. Some Carnival groups in Aruba have hundreds of participants. Participants spend months preparing their glittery— and often barely-there – costumes. Some of the costumes are so immense and heavy that they run on wheels. Each Carnival group shimmies to the beat of its own band stationed on a lorry that moves along with the group. 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 whiled away with food and drink, greeting and socialising. Carnival in Aruba is far too much fun to miss!
These are some of the highlights of the wild and wonderful Aruba Carnival celebrations and processions 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 procession route.
The afternoon Children’s Parade features groups of adorable miniature marchers in creative and colourful costumes. These are professional productions organised and overseen by parents.
The Grand Carnival Parade in Aruba's second capital San Nicolas begins with j’ouvert morning, a combination pyjama 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 it an exhausting but exhilarating weekend. This is the biggest and longest of all the Aruban Carnival processions and has the most spectators and participants.
The midnight burning of King Momo, a life-sized effigy of the spirit of the Aruban Carnival, signals the end of the season.