The streets of Oranjestad were filled with lights the first Saturday of January. The official opening of the carnival season took off with the Torch Parade. 10 carnival groups participated, each with their own theme in outfit. The Torch Parade is an easy going parade where the costumes are mostly decorated T-shirts in certain colors. But…. This is just a warming up for the most colorful, creative, inspiring parades that are to come.
The island is known for its white-sanded beaches and perfect climate, but there is one time in the year that Aruba draws thousands of visitors: carnival. If you have never been here before, come in carnival season as your experience will be amazing. Sensational musical events, queen elections and different parades are all part of this spectacular phenomenon. Carnival is part of Aruba’s history and cultural heritage, actually it is the largest cultural festival on the island. For the islanders it is a way to express their creativity and break away from the daily buzz of life. Dancing to the rhythm of local music while enjoying the ambiance of the public are some of the ingredients of this festival. Oranjestad and San Nicolas are the stages for this display of unique designed costumes, amazing ambience and upbeat, local music. The festival is for everybody accessible and safe to visit. Behind the screens there is an enormous organization that makes sure that this festival runs smoothly. The police, inspection department, Red Cross volunteers, garbage service and many others work day and night to make sure that carnival is a success. All the trailers are being carefully inspected before they are allowed to participate as well as the vehicles that pull them. After each parade the streets are being cleaned and road blocks are being taken away so next day normal traffic flow occurs. The several organizations and institutions work together with the official carnival organization SMAC.
In the 1920’s the first carnival events were organized by social clubs that started private costume and masquerade parties. This year we celebrate Aruba’s 66th carnival, which means that the first grand parade took place in 1955. Since than Aruba’s carnival has grown big and is now able to stand shoulder to shoulder with the most renowned Carnival celebrations around the world.
For more information you can visit Facebook page SMAC, the official carnival organization.