According to 2Pac, “California knows how to party”. If he had ever been to Curacao, however, I’m positive that he would have been inspired to substitute California for Curacao…
Although we admittedly have spent more than average time here on the island, I dare say that we have also experienced more than average festive street parades and celebrations.
When decorations for Valentine’s Day were taken down, Carnival decorations came up. The period February 19-28 accomodated the Children’s parade, Teens’ parade, Grand Parade, Children’s Farewell Parade and Grand Farewell Parade. Did you think that one Carnival parade would be enough?? Along the streets of the Otrobanda district of Willemstad, people benched themselves with food and drinks, waiting for the hundreds of beautifully dressed up Carnival participants, dancing to the loud beats streaming out from giant loudspeakers on the trucks accompanying the groups.
Focus then shifted to Easter, with its Seú Harvest Parade, held on April 23. Once again a multitude of people gathered in the streets of Otrobanda for an even more impressive procession than during Carnival, bombarding us with loud music and colorful, sophisticated outfits. The costume industry must have lucrative terms in Curacao!
It was not that easy to find out up front at what time of the day these parades would take place. When you asked the locals, they would say 1-2-3-4-5-o’clock, well in line with Caribbeans’ lack of needing the clear schedule we are used to from Northern Europe. Usually, we would wait for some hours before catching a glimpse of the vanguard of the cortege, but not without being entertained 🙂 A happy medium between the Danish and the Curacaoan sense of time would probably be a winner!
Just as we thought that the big parties were over for now, the biggest of them all – King’s Day on April 27 – knocked on the door. The whole island seemed to have met up to celebrate the Dutch King’s birthday, with stands all over Punda and Pietermaai in Willemstad, shopping offers not to miss (apparently!), Polar beer, barbecue food and a parking lot filled to the last spot and beyond (only to be almost empty again the next day).
Curacao does not need, however, a special occasion to party, as long as it is Sunday. We had indeed observed the Sunday pilgrimage out of the Spanish Waters of our neighbours in the Yacht Club that has been our home the past few months. It took us three months to realize that this pilgrimage was of only a few minutes’ duration, all the way to the just-around-the-corner Santa Barbara Beach. But of course, those advanced fishing yachts have to be used for something – and what better use than for a beach party?