Carnival celebrations on Curacao
The Carnival celebration in Curaçao is completely unique; it has nothing to do with the Carnival celebrated in the Netherlands such as in Maastricht, Den Bosch or Bergen op Zoom. Even if people think it can be compared to the South American Carnival in Rio, that is incorrect. The Curaçao Carnival has its own character; the parade looks very South American/Rio-like, the music has many African influences with dance steps and rhythms from the Caribbean.
The main emphasis is on personal fun and beautiful costumes. We will give you a few basic details:
Twice a big parade is held, namely on Sunday afternoon, beautiful in the sunlight, but for the runners, dancers and musicians in the parade and the spectators quite warm. The procession is called "parade" and "gran marcha" here. Along the route, many primitive wooden buffets, tables, and chairs are set up, and stands are decorated so that the public can enjoy the carnival in peace.
The second time, the parade, concluding the Carnival, is held on the Tuesday evening. A lot cooler and particularly festive with the many lights. The length of the parade is about 6 km and takes about 4 hours. About 40 official groups (6000 persons) participate in the parade.
Prior to the carnival, there is an election of the carnival song/melody/dance. This will be played, sung and danced by all groups, throughout the carnival period. The best composers and singers participate in this Tumba Festival. It is very popular, exciting and is spread over 4 evenings and always lasts until late at night.
After the official start of the carnival season in January, the various carnival groups take to the streets on a weekly and often daily basis. They do not yet use the fancy costumes of the carnival. The groups go dancing behind the car with music. In many cases, it's just for their own fun or fundraising for their own causes or for charities.
The Jump-ups are very popular with the public and are organized by local carnival associations and businesses.