Carnival can be found in cultures and societies all around the world. It dates back hundreds if not thousands of years to ancient celebrations, but it was the French we have to thank for originally bringing Carnival to islands of the Caribbean. Make no mistake, Aruba Carnival is one of the best times to visit One Happy Island. First Class Experience Aruba is pleased to present to you this mini-guide to the main events of the biggest party on the island.
Aruba Carnival Events in November and January
A number of important Carnival events have already happened, but don’t worry! The momentum keeps building all throughout February until the final day of Carnival. Here are the events that have already taken place:
- Legends Festival: Each year on November 11 Carnival season gets its official start with this even, a tradition that goes back to 1966 when the group that organizes Carnival was founded. All the different groups that will be participating in Carnival present the themes they have chosen, as well as the costume designs they are working on.
- Torch Parade (Parada di Flambeu): Organized by the Tivoli Club, Aruba’s oldest social club, this nighttime parade is all about lighting up the darkness of night with all kinds of torches and lights, along with lots of music and dancing.
- Prince and Jester Election (Eleccion Prins cu Pancho): The Prince is an important figure who presents the Carnival Queen and accompanies her at events. The Jester is the Prince’s assistant and provides hilarious comic relief everywhere he goes. The Prime Minister actually turns the entire island over to them to rule for the two weeks leading up to the grand finale of Aruba Carnival.
- Children’s Balloon Parade (Parada di Blaas): Kids of all ages love this daytime parade that features floats of all kinds decked out with more balloons than you’ve ever seen.
- Grand Tumba Contest: Tumba is a unique Dutch Caribbean genre of music showing both European and African influences. Singers competing in this contest must perform their songs in the native language of Papiamento and the lyrics must relate to Carnival, but they also often provide satirical commentaries on current events on Aruba.
- Caiso and Soca Monarch (Calypso and Roadmarch Contest): Bands compete with songs, lyrics, and music with infectious beats themed around life on Aruba.
Aruba Carnival Events in February
- Carnival Queen Election and Coronation: The Carnival Queen is the central figure of Aruba Carnival who leads parades and promotes Carnival. Each Carnival group has a contestant, along with separate children and youth titles awarded.
- Pajama Party (Jouvert Morning): If you’re not used to partying in the wee hours, you’ll need to rest up for this one. The parade begins at 4am and lasts until sunrise!
- Grand Lighting Parade: This is one of Aruba Carnival’s most popular nighttime parades in Oranjestad where participants wear costumes festooned with hundred and hundreds of tiny lights. Floats, music, and dancing are also on tap during this event.
- Grand Carnival Parade: The final day of Aruba Carnival is on the last Sunday in February and features the biggest parade of them all with more amazing costumes, more bands, more music, more floats, and more fun!
- Burning of King Momo: The final act of Aruba Carnival is the burning of the life-size “spirit” of Carnival after the Grand Carnival Parade called King Momo. It’s a symbolic burning up all the excesses of Carnival in order to be prepared for more sober living during Lent. It is followed by Carnival Monday, a national holiday on Aruba for everyone to recover, which is why many call it Burnout Monday!
It’s not too late to make your travel plans to come experience the pure magic of Aruba Carnival. And when you come, arrive in VIP style with First Class Experience Aruba VIP Airport Hosting Arrival Services, which includes the following:
- Greeted by VIP professional host at the end of the arrival bridge.
- Expedited procedures through immigration.
- Personalized attention in the airports VIP Club Lounge with complementary snacks and beverages.
- Your baggage is handled with care.
- Streamlined customs processing.
- Your baggage hand-delivered to you.
- Escort from airport to ground transportation.
And when it’s time to leave, make your departure in style with our VIP Airport Hosting Departure Service. We look forward to welcoming you at Aruba Carnival!