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Aruba's Carnival is the biggest party of the year - a month-long celebration with spectacular parades.
Get into the spirit of Aruba’s biggest party of the year - a month-long celebration with festive street parties known as “jump-ups”, queen elections, where lovelies of all ages strut their stuff, and spectacular parades!
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 road march with catchy lyrics, melodies, and movements all perform together. True hits like “do the wiper”, “hit the floor”, and “jump with your towel" are still popular years later.
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. Each parade 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 trail their owners on wheels. Each Carnaval group shimmies to the beat of its own band stationed on a truck 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 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 in Aruba'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's Carnival, signals the end of the season.