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Small, medium or big parade, Arubans are always prepared for whatever the cause.
Small, medium or big parade, Arubans are always prepared for whatever the cause. Yes, cause. Celebrating is an essential tool to enhance our quality of life. And months of planning, stocking, and crafting are more than a necessity. They are the heartbeat pulsing through these island festivities. Ready? Time to whine up like a true Carnival pro.
Tumba, Calypso, Roadmarch, Soca contests do not only serve their entertainment purposes. For Arubans - apart from the razor-sharp messages behind the songs or the impact of their catchiness - these music events get families and friends together, everyone reflecting on the island’s current issues and in the right Carnival mood. Memorizing the winning lyrics and learning the matching moves is serious business. Participation is key during Aruba’s Carnaval. Gazing motionless with lips shut tight is pointless if one can jam-a-long and become part of the celebration.
Everything and everyone gets a makeover: parade floats, dancing queens, road kings, music trucks, visitor tents, spectators big and small. There’s no right or wrong way to Carnivalize, because in Aruba you can only go ‘All The Way’. Showing off suggestive one-liners on matching tees is a popular choice. Add a crazy wig or silly sunshades and you’re good to go. But to draw a crowd, a little more planning is needed. Whether you’re partying in or around the Carnival parade, local make-up artists are ready to wave their glitter wands and cast a heatproof look on you. Make-up artists start preparing participants before dawn in order to accommodate everyone on the schedule before the start of the parade. Want to go even hotter? Put on a gorilla suit! Just make sure to stay hydrated.
Arubans love to eat, we all know that. During the Carnival season, food not only needs to fill up the bellies, but it also has to be easy to grab and go, shareable with as many as possible, a feast for the taste buds. Coffee and a pastechi in the morning is a local’s favorite kick-off (pastechi’s taste good any time of the day, sizzling hot or stiff cold). Fried finger-food like the croquette, dedito, empanada are stacked and foiled everywhere. Tuna sandwiches and deviled eggs always make the list and lay a solid groundwork for the fluids. At the end of the day, when all the body fuels have been danced away, the grill comes alive to thank the party crowd with one last hot meal.
In Aruba, waiting patiently - not a preferred task for most people - is oftentimes unavoidable. Maybe it’s the sunny weather, the clear blue skies, the hushing winds, that make the whole island relax and slow down a bit (or a lot). During Carnival time, Arubans know how to turn those long, boring hours into a gratifying past-time. On one hand, we have the Walkers, sashaying up and down the Carnival route to keep track of the parade or to show off their slimmed, trimmed or curvaceous limbs (or new shoes). Then, we’ve got the Watchers, sagged into their comfy chairs with a beer in hand and gaping eyes behind sunglasses. All this, and more is part of an authentic Aruban Carnaval.
Prevention is key, but when a hangover becomes larger than a golden jubilee celebration while every precaution has been taken, we need quick and effective fixes. If locals have a say in this, the remedy better taste good, too. Fluids are important. Drinking water, adding a drop of lemon to replenish. The island’s most well-known cure to exit Wasteland is a bowl of hot and spicy oyster soup. Goat and fresh seafood broth will probably do the work as well. Yet, sipping oyster soup is, just… There’s no soup like oyster soup. Repeat this two more times.