Carnival 64th – It doesn’t get any better than this

Carnival 64 was spectacular and while some stayed away, saving their pennies for Carnival 65, the 2018 events followed each other in rapid succession, all well-orchestrated and incredibly entertaining.

The Grand Parade, 2,600 participants, five hours long – was totally breathtaking with TOB as the first group presenting the Rise of the Phoenix. What are they going to do for Carnival 65, if they already went all out for 64!

Incredible workmanship and skill, in a relatively short period of time from early January to early February, went into Empire Carnival Group’s interpretation of the Garden of Eden, Los Laga Bai’s King Robert’s army and Dushi Carnival Group’s take on the Jewels of the Caribbean.

One segment of the parade that moved me to tears was Unity Carnival Group, with some of Aruba’s special needs persons, marching in costumes, singing and dancing: “We should take care of each other, For Once And For All.” The initiative by Aruba Doet, made me weepy. Bless you on the inclusion, that’s what the Road Jam is talking about.

With some help from philosophical friends, I now look at Carnival as a unique expression of the island’s culture – it’s what sets us apart. And in an era of a uniform global culture our need to be unique and different is satisfied via an annual celebration of team spirit and solidarity.

Team spirit? Carnival is a group activity, it is an equal opportunity platform and requires the collaboration of a great number of people. This co-production between designers, organizers, runners and helpers – TOB even had relief shoulder-piece carriers within the group – makes the experience such a mutually-enjoyed celebration.

Solidarity? The kissing and hugging and the loving exchange between sideliners and parade participants is heart-warming, raising the level of our national oxytocin – promoting social bonding, and yes, sexual reproduction, in both sexes! We cheer the parade goers, take pictures and vow to go in ourselves the following year.

It’s all About Love! Thank you, Jeon and Rasta, for coming up with such a great composition, spreading such a positive message. Isn’t it astounding that in an era filled with electronic noise, a wave of 2,600 revelers flows onward on the wings of a melodious ditty advocating the need to take care of each other? What great content, just priceless, with the whole island embracing an old fashion group sing-along.

The big democracy – That was also clear to see in our parade, that Carnival doesn’t discriminate. There was total acceptance of age, young and old, fat and skinny, religion, sexual orientation, and gender, with a strong Rainbow / Pride representation as an important
symbol for an island culture of equality. Applause to the Rainbow Float and Lion Fish floats, they were both incredible museum pieces.

Female power – This island’s female population carries immense economic burdens, while embracing Carnival as their opportunity to shine, confident and resplendent! Women are the majority of parade participants, and they were having a great time, flaunting perfect makeup, lashes, nails, and hair!  It is no secret that the empowerment of women is the key to economic and social progress. Yes, women hold the key to our success as a community, and they were confident and gorgeous keeping up the good work they do educating kids and putting bread on the table. Also having fun once in a while, letting it all hang. Power to them. Power to us!

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February 12, 2018
Rona Coster