Carnival in Aruba

Aruba’s Carnival takes place over several weeks prior to Lent (usually in February). It’s celebrated with children’s parades, masquerades, musical competitions and plenty of dancing. The most intense celebrations take place in Oranjestad. New Year’s Day is welcomed with midnight fireworks to ward off evil spirits, while wandering minstrels serenade outside of houses and hotels. There’s a Summer Jam at the end of April with a carnival and jazz bands.

The Hi-Winds Pro-Am Windsurfing Competition is held at Eagle Beach in June. In late June, there’s the harvest festival of Dera Gai – it used to involve the burying of a rooster, but these days a gourd is substituted. Sint Nicolas Day (5 Dec) is a Dutch transplant: Sint Nicolas is a Santa Claus figure who arrives with his un-PC Zwarte Pieten (Black Petes) who help him distribute candy and gifts to children gathered in Oranjestad. In November, the Aruba Heineken Catamaran Regatta hosts three or four dozen teams competing in the Caribbeans largest catamaran event.