Monday, March 3, 2014

Carnaval in Curaçao

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.
Carnaval in Curaçao is a serious thing.

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?


  1. Replies
    1. 90% of Curaçao's population agree with you, JoJo :)

  2. I want to go to one of these someday. Will see you in Mexico for one of these, one of these years. I can dream, right?

    1. YES! I'd love to show you Mexico someday, Damyanti. Carnival there isn't a widespread thing, but the one in the state of Veracruz (on the Gulf of Mexico, the place where the Spanish landed to begin their conquest) is pretty spectacular.

  3. Very vibrant and attractive costumes.. It looks like a night of great celebration..

    1. It's a huge production. People spend significant moolah on their costumes; it's a sign of status and all. I've always wondered what happens to those costumes after Ash Wednesday...

  4. I loved Curaçao when we visited. The Mardi Gras scene has never been my kind of thing. I'd be the one staying home curled up with a good book for the holiday. =)

    1. You've been to Curaçao? Oh, wow! It's so rare to meet someone who knows where this island is, let alone has been here :) I'd love to hear more about your visit, your impressions... Maybe I can convince you to do a guest blog post? *flits eyelashes*

  5. I've never experienced Mardi Gras!
    Then again, I don't like crowds...

    anna @ Deeply Shallow

    1. I'm with you, Anna... Crowds are *not* my thing. You'd hate Carnaval here--or pretty much everywhere I've seen it. There's always TV ;)

  6. I've never been to a Mardi Gras or Carnaval event and don't really care to. Like you, I prefer more quiet surroundings. Also I'm not crazy about being around a lot of people who've been drinking excessively.

    They have a few Mardi Gras festivities in the Los Angeles area I believe, but it's unlikely that I'll ever be at any of them.

    Wrote By Rote
    An A to Z Co-host blog

    1. A kindred soul :) Maybe we lovers of quiet should band together and have our own Mardi Gras--at a mountain retreat :D

      Thanks for the visit, Arlee!

  7. Hi Guilie - what amazing photos ..and description .. yes I think I'd stay at home too, but I don't like crowds ... and watching on film or tv sometimes is cheating, but eases the hassle!

    We have the Notting Hill Carnival in August .. and pancake day, the day before Lent here ... and there are carnivals along the town centres at various times in the year ..

    Cheers to Curacao ... Hilary

    1. Haha... Yeah, I'm not a lover of crowds, either, and although I dislike TV on principle, you're right--sometimes it's worth it :)

      Pancake day, though, I think I might make an exception for. Wow! Hilary, post some photos next year!


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