Ancient Carnival began as a Catholic rite to represent the Christian practice of Carne Levale, or giving up meat for Lent. In the 19th century, Curaçao continued the tradition by organizing masquerade parties and marches in private clubs. It wasn’t until 1969 that Curaçao’s Carnival started to gain the popularity it enjoys today. It’s one of the largest and longest lasting Carnival spectacles of the Caribbean starting in early January, and ending late February / March.
After the official opening day of the Carnival season, usually in January, Carnival groups assemble and go around dancing in the streets. They follow musical bands, wearing T-shirts so the audience can recognize the name of the group. During the following weeks, they organize Jump ups (outdoor) and Jump ins (indoor), selling T-shirts to raise money for their participation in the Gran Marcha (The Grand Parade).
The main marches, the product of weeks of enthusiastic preparation, take place in February or March. They feature hordes of fantastic floats, costumes, and characters, plus Carnival royalty elected during full-scale beauty contests.
There are two big parades, one on Sunday in the daytime: Curaçao’s Gran Marcha (The Grand Parade) and the Marcha Despedida (the Farewell March) a couple of days later, usually on Tuesday evening. The latter has a special magic floats are adorned with sparkling lights and at the finale of the parade at midnight, the Momo (a big straw-filled doll) is burned. Carnival celebrations usually last until the eve of Ash Wednesday.
The Carnival Season starts in the first weeks of January each year.
The period of carnival festivities culminate with the 'Gran Marcha' (Main Parade) on the last Sunday before Ash Wednesday and the Farewell Parade on the evening of the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday (the first of Lent).
The future dates for the Main and Farewell Parades for the 2007-2011 period are:
Year: Main Parade, Farewell Parade
2007: February 18, February 20
2008: February 3, February 5
2009: February 22, February 24
2010: February 14, February 16
2011: March 6, March 8
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Note: Event dates are subject to change. Please contact the event organizer before making travel plans.
Carnival Connection: Your source for Caribbean Carnival Festival Information, including festival dates, parade information, contact information and links to official websites. Includes information about Mardi Gras, Trini-Style Carnival and other related festivals.
Where's the current dates? - Unlike other websites, CaribbeanChoice only publishes the official dates as released by the carnival organizer. Most other websites simply guess what next year's dates are. We don't do that. We want to make sure our information is as accurate as possible.
This page will be updated as soon as we get the official dates from the event organizer, or they post it on their official website, whichever comes first.
Note: We haven't heard anything from this carnival in awhile. It may not be held anymore. If you have information about this carnival, please contact us.