This year Aruba celebrates its 56th edition of Karnaval and pre-carnival events have been under way. Through January, events such as the Carnival Warm Up Jump In, the Torch Parade, the Calypso Roadmarch Contests, the Balloons Parade, the 40th Grand Tumba Contest (tumba is the local music and dance), and the Carnival Queen Election and Coronation. February was marked by other activities such as the Costume Festival and the Lighting Parade (Parada di Luz).
On Saturday, February 13, Carnival’s biggest “Jump-up” begins at 4:00am in the streets of downtown San Nicolas with the Grand Parade starting at 1:00pm. The annual carnival festivities culminate with Grand Carnival Parade, which always falls the Sunday before Ash Wednesday, this year, on February 14. Aruba’s main event starts at 11 am in Oranjestad and continues into the evening in the streets of the city.
Carnival officially comes to an end on the eve of Ash Wednesday with the burning of “King Momo,” a symbol of the flesh. The Old Mask Parade and burning of the Momito (little Momo) takes place on Monday (known as Burn Out Monday), February 15, starting at 4:00pm in San Nicolas and the Grand Parade (Gran Marcha) and burning of Momo takes place on Tuesday, February 16, starting at 8:00pm in Oranjestad.
Note that Karnaval events in Bonaire and Curaçao are also underway with similar activities. Curaçao is the largest of the ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao) and hosts additional activities, elaborate parades, contests, and coronations. For example, Curaçao features a five-day Tumba Festival. The islands also elect the Rei di Tumba (Tumba King) and Reina di Tumba (Tumba Queen), a Carnival King, Carnival Queen, and Prince and Pancho, two leaders chosen to be the bearers of the city’s keys during carnival.
This year Curaçao organized the first contest to choose an International Carnival Queen. Hosted by the Foundation for the Development of Carnival [Fundashon pa Desaroyo di Karnaval of Curaçao (FUDEKA)], the contest took place at Kleina Werf and it included 13 participants from Curaçao , Aruba, Venezuela, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Barbados, and others. Aruban Alina Mansur (55th Aruba Carnival Queen) won the title of first International Carnival Queen for 2010.
Elia Isenia won the title of Reina di Tumba in Curaçao this year. To watch her singing “Mi pueblo a manda mi,” see
For the entire schedule of events and photos of past carnivals in Aruba, see http://www.visitaruba.com/experience-aruba/carnival-2010/
For the schedule of events in Curaçao , see http://www.Curaçao .com/The-Curaçao -Difference/Carnival!-Dancing-and-Music and http://Curaçao carnival.info/eng/index.php
For the history of carnival in Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao, see http://www.karnaval2005.com/carnivalarticle.shtml