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With its contagious music and electrifying vibe, Carnival is Aruba’s biggest party of the year—and you’re invited!
Our Carnival is a high-energy month-long celebration of pageants, music competitions, street parties, and spectacular parades, delighting and uniting the entire country. All year long, locals look forward to the catchy roadmarch and calypso tunes, the throbbing sound trucks, the glittering costumes, the magnificent floats, the Carnival queen coronations, and the hip-shaking madness. Wanna join us? We’d love for you to partake in any of our exciting Aruba Carnival events!
Carnival is celebrated in many countries around the world as a pre-Lenten festival, but here’s the scoop on how it began in Aruba. Carnival was born in 1954 as a series of small street festivals. The Tivoli Club, Aruba’s oldest private social club, was the first to have a pre-Lenten celebration in Oranjestad in February 1944. The Allied victory of World War II was commemorated by a large parade in San Nicolas, comprised largely of Caribbean-English immigrants who came to Aruba to work at the Lago Oil Refinery. The first steel and brass bands debuted a few years later, and small parades sprouted here and there.
In 1955, various clubs and districts were brought together for the first public Aruba Carnival with the first official Carnival queen. The traditional Grand Parades were organized in 1957. On November 11, 1966 (11/11/66), at 11:11 a.m., Stichting Arubaanse Carnaval, Carnival’s organizing body, was founded. Each year, the Carnival season officially begins at this precise moment. Ever since 1981, Tivoli has produced the Lighting Parade, a twinkling nighttime extravaganza.
Besides the Lighting Parade, thousands of participants and spectators enjoy Children’s Parades, the Jouvert Morning Pajama Party, the Grand Carnival Parade in San Nicolas, and the exciting finale—the Grand Carnival Parade in Oranjestad. The midnight burning of King Momo, a life-size effigy, signals the end of the Aruba Carnival season on Shrove Tuesday, the day just before Ash Wednesday. This tradition symbolizes the burning of the Spirit of Carnival, who will rise again when the next season—and a whole new round of partying!—begins.
If you want to experience a colorful celebration unlike any other, visit the island during Aruba Carnival season. During Carnival in Aruba, you will experience the bright spirits of our local community first hand. Once you see the creative costumes and hear the catchy music, you will instantly understand why Aruba is the happiest island on earth.