Arubaå‘s biggest celebration, the 49th Annual Carnival Season, will jump start January 17th bringing fun, food and frolic to the streets of the island. Carnival season marks the height of excitement for the year as the island vibrates with parades, competitions and parties filled with color.
Arubans prepare for this cultural tradition as early as one year in advance, assuring that all costumes and floats are crafted on time. Carnival marks Aruba’s high season or “the hot season”, as the islanders prefer to call it. Carnival time may well be the most popular and festive occasion for both tourists and locals. This year’s festivities promise to be more exciting than usual since they will serve as a prelude to Aruba 50th Carnival Season which will be celebrated in 2004. The citizens of Aruba have been celebrating with European-style carnival parties and debutante balls since 1921. Aruba’s first official Carnival parade was organized in 1955.
One of the brightest events of the season is The Tivoli Lighting Parade on Saturday, February 22. Aruba’s oldest social club organizes this spectacle. Adorned with costumes, floats and more than 2,000 participants illuminate the streets of Oranjestad with thousands of tiny lights. On Sunday, March 1st, the early bird truly gets the worm with the Jouvert Morning party which begins at 4 a.m. in San Nicolas. Carnival goers rise early for music and dancing in Carnival’s biggest street celebration, which is also known as the “Pajama Party”.
Carnival’s culminating moment arrives on March 2nd with the 49th Aruba Grand Carnival Parade, the island’s biggest and most popular display. The streets fill with colorful costumes, rhythm and joy as Carnival reaches its peak moment the Sunday before Ash Wednesday. Carnival time comes to a symbolic, festive end on Tuesday, March 4th with the “Burning of King Momo”. This gathering features the burning of a larger-than-life straw figure. The flames engulfing “King Momo” signify the end of Carnival and close the season’s festivities.