Aruba is a island of the Lesser Antilles in the southern Caribbean Sea, located in north of the coast of Venezuela.
Collectively, Aruba and the other Dutch islands in the Antilles are commonly referred to as the Netherlands Antilles or the Dutch Antilles. Along with the Netherlands, Curaçao, Bonaire and Sint Maarten, Aruba is one of the four constituent countries that form the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Its capital is Oranjestad. Unlike much of the Caribbean region, Aruba has a dry climate and an arid, cactus-strewn landscape. This climate has helped tourism as visitors to the island can reliably expect warm, sunny weather.
Christmas Celebrations in Aruba :
Christmas in Aruba is a national holiday. Away from all the pressures and you can always have a “White Christmas”. Only it the white sand. There are Christmas decorations everywhere. The only bad part about Aruba at Christmas is the number of people. Boxing day, December 26, is celebrated in Aruba.
Aruba celebrates Christmas in a very special manner. Sinterklaas, being the Dutch version of Santa Claus, visit them on December 5th and give the good boys and girls presents and sweets. Then Santa Claus will visit their home on December 25th and give the good boys and girls presents under a Christmas tree. On January 6th the Three Kings visit the good boys and girls and leave them presents at the Nativity scene. Other celebrations such as the Jewish Festival of Lights (Hanukkah) which lasts 8 days.
People living in this country celebrate the birth of Christ and there generally is a true Christmas spirit within the community. On the night before Christmas most families dress in their best clothes to go to church attending the Christmas Eve mass to receive blessings. After church and giving each other “Bon Pasco” they go home and have the traditional Christmas dinner. Other families celebrate Christmas morning with opening presents and having the traditional Christmas breakfast.
Christmas in Aruba would not be complete without a visit to see the Christmas lights at Seroe Preto. Also by just driving around on the main roads you can enjoy a variety of creativity with colorful lights being displayed on various Aruban homes.
Before Sinterklaas, Santa Claus, the Christmas tree and Christmas lights came along, the celebration of Christmas was quite a lot simpler, indigenous people who had been converted to Christianity had a tradition that is still being done by many families. Before Christmas the house is swept and mopped with special scents and the walls are newly painted. On the night before Christmas people would attend Christmas Eve mass dressed in their best clothes. The tradition has not died out but has changed over the years.
Aruban Christmas traditional dishes may sound familiar, Christmas ham, ayaca, arros con pollo, stuffed turkey or chicken and zults and oliebollen. Soups and salads like tuna salad, chicken and peas salad, egg salad, chicken sancocho and the famous pumpkin soup. Also for any guests an array of snacks are often prepared such as deviled eggs, cheese balls, croquettes, pastechi, sweet and sour meatballs, and sweets like rumballs and soenchi. Special cakes are the Pistachio cake and the Dark fruit cake just to mention a few. The drinks are chuculati pinda and ponche crema. The delicious stollen cannot be forgotten, which is a loaf-shaped cake containing dried fruit, and covered with powdered sugar or icing sugar. More recently added to the Christmas traditional food is also the Italian panettone and the pan de jamon.
One can hear Sinterklaas music, Christmas carols and gaitas in different houses but also at the malls and stores. Gaita is a style of Venezuelan folk music from Maracaibo in Zulia State. It may come from gaits, the Gothic word for “goat”, which is the skin generally used for the membrane of the furro instrument. Other instruments used in gaita include maracas, cuatro, charrasca and tambora.
We wish all readers Merry Christmas 2016 & Prosperous New Year !!!