As the island’s largest and most important cultural event, Curaçao Carnival! Brings together more than 40 ethnic groups in one flamboyant, frenetic celebration. Carnival! Curaçao season begins early in January with the Tumba Festival and ends the day before Ash Wednesday. Each year for the Grand Parade, tourists are invited to join the marching groups or to watch from a special area.
The Grand Parade turns the narrow streets leading into Willemstad into a writhing corridor of pulsating sound and energetic dance. About 30 groups, each with an elaborate costume theme and a 100-decibel sound truck, keep the non-stop party rocking late into the night. Imaginations go wild with extravagant costumes.
Carnival ends with the burning of King Momo at midnight, after the Farewell Parade. The life-sized, straw-filled effigy symbolizes infertility, sins, and bad luck. His image isn’t just burned – he’s blown to smithereens. The explosion and fireworks rock the island.
Carnival is a mixture of a street party, theater, art, culture, history, cuisine, and folklore. It gives you a glimpse into the soul of a people – and personal interactions that live in your memory long after the suntan fades.