|Carnaval in Curaçao has two parades: the Grand March on Sunday|
afternoon, and the Farewell March on Tuesday, Mardi Gras,
which starts around 8 pm.
If you've been to the big Mardi Gras celebrations--Rio, Veracruz, New Orleans--the Curaçao version will be, sadly, disappointing. But to locals, Carnaval (no, not Carnival) is the event of the year. More important than Christmas, or even the newly minted Dia di Korsow (Curaçao Day) that celebrates Curaçao becoming a country within the Kingdom of The Netherlands (instead of part of the defunct Netherlands Antilles).
The only holiday that might give Carnaval a run for its money is New Year's. And that would be a close run.
Which is why Carnaval Monday shouldn't surprise me.
Uh-huh. Today is a holiday here.
Everything is closed, just like New Year's Day. No, no parade today--the time off is to recover from yesterday's, and to be fresh for tomorrow's. Which ends at midnight, with the burning of Rei (King) Momo.
Wouldn't it make more sense, I asked ten years ago in my naiveté, to have off the day after the Farewell Parade (the one tomorrow, the late one)?
No, I was told. But the reasons never made enough sense to stick.
Fascinating, these traditions. But I stopped going to Carnaval years ago. I prefer to enjoy the quiet. It's not often that streets are so deserted, neighbors so unobtrusive (ahem, because they're not there). Yep... I'm all good here.
What's the lowdown on Mardi Gras where you live? Is that something you look forward to? Have you ever walked in a carnival parade?