Photo: Alejandro Servacio
Arubian Carnaval is all about the parades that lead up to the Big Parade, most notably the Lighting Parade, the Children’s Parade and Jouvert.
The Lighting Parade is my favorite. It takes place at night, both in Oranjestad and in San Nicolas. It’s essentially the same as the Big Parade, with all the same groups, trucks and bands, but it takes place at night. Instead of lighting up the parade route, masqueraders attach colorful lights to their costumes, creating a dazzling parade of lights moving through the dark streets. Alongside the parade route, spectators adorn glow sticks and glow-in-the-dark necklaces. There’s an amazing amount of energy, and it’s really a sight to behold.
There are also three Children’s Parades: one in Noord, a small town in the northern part of the island, and in Oranjestad and San Nicolas. As the name suggest, kids are the masqueraders in this parade instead of adults, and it’s unbelievably cute.