Carnival! Curaçao’s Biggest Party of the Year Explodes This Month

WILLEMSTAD, Curaçao – It’s Carnival! Curaçao’s biggest festival, Carnival, blasts off this month bringing dance, costumes, food and entertainment to the entire island. Carnival events kicked into full gear on February 2nd and builds to a pinnacle with the Grand Carnival Parade or “Gran Marcha” on February 14; the festival concludes with the Grand Farewell Parade on February 16th.

Thousands of spectators line up along the road to witness an impressive array of multi-costumed groups dancing to the beat of Tumba, an Afro-Caribbean-Latin music hybrid that is the island’s official Carnival music. It also serves as the background beat for musical competitions held around the island.

“Carnival combines multiple ethnic traditions and is a pure celebration of our culture,” says Brenda Benjamin, Director of Marketing, Curaçao Tourist Board. “Curaçao’s unique blend of ethnicities, religions and cultural traditions really do come together in a burst of color, imagination, light, sound and energy during Carnival. It’s one of the best times of the year to be here.”

The Curaçao Carnival festival season actually begins in early January with the election of the adult and teen Carnival Queen, Prince and Pancho in talent competitions. What follows are days of “jump-ins” (indoor parties) and “jump-ups” (outdoor parties), including the four day Tumba music festival where bands vie to have their song chosen as the official parade anthem.

Those who attend Carnival will get to see the result of secret meetings between Carnival groups who use that time to finalize their choice of elaborate costumes for the Grand Parade and decide on team names like “T’aki Tin”, “VaVaVoom”, “Globo group”, Cashé group and “Crazy Diamonds.” Carnival teams show off their dazzling costumes as they travel the Parade Route vying for the honor of best dressed. The grand finale of Carnival literally explodes as King Momo — a giant effigy stuffed with fireworks — is ritually set aflame after dark.

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