In the new year

New Year's Eve Curacao

The year ends on December 31, official holiday, formally at noon when stores and offices close. Local businesses and institutions set off huge rolls of fireworks in a kind of friendly competition. At midnight, the fireworks carry to a deafening climax that lasts about a good fifteen minutes and then sputters all night long.

For the best views of the sky ablaze with fireworks, choose a spot on a hill or a place with a good view. To join the hundreds of partying Curaçaoans, head to the waterfront Brionplein ("Plasa Brion" or Awasá) on Otrobanda where, after an evening of cultural activities, the Bishop of Willemstad pronounces the blessing over the crowd at midnight.

Many hotels organize parties for their guests and some restaurants do the same. But you'll be amazed at how many places already close at nine o'clock in the evening. New Year's Eve is a family affair par excellence on Curaçao. Once the new year has been ushered in, the people of Curaçao will spend the rest of the evening with family and good friends. The younger generation usually visits one of the many party venues on the island. Traditionally, houses are cleaned and painted before New Year's Eve and incense is burned on New Year's Eve to drive away evil spirits.

Fireworks old & new
From December 26 to 31, hundreds of roadside tents sell fireworks; this is the only period when fireworks can be sold legally. Prices and wares vary from year to year, ranging from a guilder or two for a pack of sparklers (strea) to thousands of guilders for long firework mats (pagara). If you want to hear big bangs, ask for klapchi, the larger thunderbolt or the deafening air bomb. If you want more ornamental, try fountain (ornamental fireworks), flor (popping star), bala bala (Roman candle) and fupeilu (flares).