Our Carnival history
Everywhere in the world that carnivals have taken root and grown, they have become unique events unto themselves, and the premier cultural and party festival within the region.
Early Carnival Celebrations
At first the wealthy plantation owners, traders and business people of the Caribbean region held fancy balls after the example of the high society in their motherlands. They would dress up stately, wear wigs and put on masks.
The slaves and their descendants would hold their own little carnivals in their backyards using their own rituals, costumes and folklore. At times they would imitate their master’s behavior at masked balls.
As they got more freedom of self expression the working class took their celebration to the streets.
With the years their form of celebrating carnival became more elaborate and soon more popular than the balls held inclosed societies.
In Curaçao, Dutch Antilles, there was a very unique development of Carnival for the Dutch colonists had their characteristic way of celebrating carnival, the immigrants of Asiatic lands had theirs, the Creole middle class in the city held private balls within their social societies and the people from the Eastern Caribbean islands, which had immigrated to the island to work in the oil refinery, brought with them their form of Carnival parties and street parades in their residential areas to the model back home.
After mid 20th century all these influences started to merge together and melt down into one huge national cultural expression on the island that features people from almost fifty different nationalities.
With the insertion of Tumba (the island’s typical music form) as the official music form to be promoted and played and the media coverage of almost every important event, Carnival without a doubt became the biggest and most important cultural manifestation of Curaçao.
Curaçao Carnival is a celebration in a class of its own. It more or less takes full possession of the whole community through competitions (Tumba music and Calypso festivals), beauty pageants, private and public parties and street parades during the first weeks of the year climaxing on the weekend and Tuesday preceding the Ash Wednesday (the first day of Lent).
Source: Curaçao Carnival