The Story of Aruba’s Carnival

Carnival started in Aruba in February 1954. The victory of World War II was commemorated with a large parade in San Nicolas, with participants largely of Caribbean – English immigrants who came to Aruba to work at the Lago Oil Refinery. A few years later, the first steel band and brass band debuted in our Carnival. Other small parades also started to be organized here and there, making it not only an event hosted by one district but an Aruban celebration.

In 1955, various clubs and other districts of Aruba started the first public Aruba Carnival, with it’s first official Queen Election. On November 11, 1966 at 11:11 AM, Stichting Arubaanse Carnaval (S.A.C.) was founded, Carnival’s organizing body. That is exactly the reason, why every year, the Carnival season starts at that precise moment. In 1981 Aruba had it’s first Lighting Parade, organized by Aruba Tivoli Club.

Now a days, Aruba’ Carnival consists of queen elections, musical competitions (Soca, Caiso and Tumba), street parties (locally called Jump-Up) and parades. Every Carnaval Group is working all year long to bring the most unique theme, costume and floats on the road. All musicians focus to bring out the best tune, so it can be crowned as the best of the best. Besides the Lighting Parade, we now have Children’s Parade, J’ouvert Morning, Grand Carnival Parade and finally burning of the Momo, which is the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. This tradition symbolizes the burning of the Spirit of Carnival, who will rise again when the next season starts

Courtesy of Johnny Barroso.