Curacao Carnival is one of the largest and longest Carnival spectacles in the Caribbean
and one of the best times to visit this amazing island.
So if you’re looking for a unique, incredible and highly memorable Curacao dive vacation experience?
You've just found it.
Originally a Catholic rite to represent the Christian practice of “Carne Levale,” or giving up meat for Lent, Curacao continues the tradition now known as Carnival, with incredible masquerade parties and marches.
Curacao Carnival is the Curacao's biggest party of the year and amazing to experience - and join in.
Featuring fantastic parades, floats, costumes and characters, Carnival "Royalty" elected during full-scale beauty contests and impromptu street parties and dancin', it's a wonderfully unique opportunity to experience the passion of the islanders.
And you're welcome.
You're welcome to join the tens of thousands of road-side spectators and be amazed by the impressive, energetic and amazing array of multi-colored floats and the lavish, intricate, hand-made costumes.
You're welcome to enjoy the music that plays such a huge part in daily Curacao life: "Tumba", effectively the “soundtrack” for Curacao Carnival.
And you're welcome to dance your flip-flops off, to the complex rhythms of the live Tumba bands - or simply just watch, absorb and enjoy the whole massive, lavish and incredible Curacao Carnival experience.
For spectators and participants alike, it's just about impossible to prevent your feet from moving to the complex rhythms of this incredible music. Originating in Africa and named after a 17th century Spanish dance, Tumba evolved through influences including jazz, merengue and other Afro-Caribbean beats, to become Curacao's most popular dance and music style.
Once Curacao Carnival season is officially "opened", islanders set about raising the necessary funds for their favourite Tumba bands to participate in the Grand Parade - by arranging parties!
While the band plays at "Jump Ups” (parties held outside, in, on and through the streets in mini-Parades of their own) and "Jump Ins" (parties held inside), their fans sell band t-shirts to the dancing crowds to raise the money.
The Grand Parade (“Gran Marcha”) is the first of the two main Carnival Parades, on Sunday during the day, with the Farewell March the following Tuesday. Both Parades are the product of months of incredible amounts of work and preparation, featuring fantastical floats, lavish costumes and head-dresses, as well as traditional Carnival “characters”.
The Carnival Queen is the most important Carnival character. Representing Mother Earth, she’s a symbol of fertility and peace, elected through a series of full-scale, island-wide beauty contests.
The Carnival King (Momo) is a symbol of the exact opposite: infertility, sins and bad luck. Momo is a straw–filled dummy - which is fortunate, given that he’s center-stage at the dramatic and spectacular ritual that marks the official close of Carnival…
The Carnival route effectively splits the island in two, and it's almost impossible to cross the route to head West or East. So if you're planning on diving Curacao with The Dive Bus during Carnival, we'll be sticking to 'our' side of the route.
The trick to getting a great viewing spot along the Carnival route is to get there early. Islanders set up their seating by the side of the road days, weeks and sometimes months in advance, to reserve their favourite spots.
Alternatively, don't sit. Instead, hang out in and on the streets and mingle and dance like the locals.
And if you get the opportunity to join the Parade – do it. It’s fun, safe, friendly – and the experience of a lifetime.
The Farewell March (“Marcha di Despedida") is the second main Parade, the following Tuesday evening, with the floats adorned with sparkling lights. The dramatic Carnival finale takes place at midnight when King Momo and all that he symbolizes is banished...
(Until Carnival 2020, that is.)
With all of the above, plus the Curacao kids and teens Carnival festivities, the Tumba Festival and awesome diving AND The Dive Bus Carnival Special, you'll need another vacation to recover from your Dive into Curacao Carnival experience!
For more about Curacao Carnival, visit: www.curacao.com
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