Arts & CultureBlog

A New Year on a Small Island in the Caribbean

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To much of the world, Aruba is considered a Paradise Island, but for me and more than 120.000 of its inhabitants, it is our home. Today I’m writing a small blog post of how new years is at one of my fave places in the world, Aruba.

While I was not in Aruba for the new years, in the winter chill of New York City Times Square, where I spent my new years, I thought about how spending the last few days of the year at home is on a whole other level. You can spend new years eve at any other place in the world but it will never feel the same as home.

That said, I missed home and missed my family terribly, even though I was with my sister and her husband, yeah, call me a third wheeler. In Aruba, it all starts from the first days of December where ‘Sinterklaas en pietjes’, which is a Dutch tradition, come to the island. Parents give kids their presents… after that people around the Island start buying Christmas trees and decorate their houses.

The festival of Dande and the ‘gaitas’ which originally come from Maracaibo, Venezuela, which is where I was born. And can’t forget to mention ‘Grupo di Betico’ which delivers us that Christmas feeling with their ambient rhythm.

Everyone starts having all kinds of dinners, Christmas work dinner, organization dinner, dinner of the families, dinner for my volunteer group, friends dinner, closest friend get together. If I keep going, trust me, It will never end until the other paragraph, but all these before Christmas and the end of the year.

The normal habit of visiting all the roundabouts and decorated Christmas lights areas to spend time with family and see the decorations. It is a must, since now huge families or groups rent a bus for this specific purpose.

Santa Claus’ presents the 25th of December and the ‘Noche Buena’ dinner. Then comes 27th where the selling of ‘klapchi’ fireworks starts around the Island. Yes, you’ll scream because they sound close to where you live.

The famous ‘pagara’ in front of all the shops, hotels, companies and building from the 29th till the first of January to give chase to all the bad spirits and to bring luck for the year to come. The ‘ay nobe dande’ song around every corner you visit the Island brings joy and excitement for the new year. People around the Island go and visit place to place to see and experience this. Singing and enjoying, where it all culminates with a drink to toast for the year that has passed and the blessings to this new one.

At night we get ready and dress to receive the new year with a toast of champagne with family. With the klapchies illuminating the skies, we say hi to the new year. There are only two options left to stay with family or to attend private parties or other parties to wait and see the first sunrise of the year with the people you love, good music and the tropical vibe.

That is how it is done in Aruba Dushi Tera. We call home where you vacation on this beautiful Paradise.

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