Celebrating Christmas on Aruba

aruba christmasChristmas is one of the biggest celebrations on Aruba. It’s held not once (or twice) but THRICE. There’s the Sinterklaas (the Dutch Santa Claus) visit on December 5, the Santa Claus visit on December 25, and the Three Kings will visit on January 6. These guys will be giving children sweets and gifts, so that’s three times the kids get to celebrate Christmas. And then the whole Christmas season is preceded by the Carnival season, which consists of street bands and street parties. The last two months of the year are definitely the best time to be in there. Celebrating Christmas on Aruba is definitely a unique experience you wouldn’t want to miss out on.

ven if you’re not planning on giving gifts more than one day this month, we suggest you hightail to Aruba to experience a unique blend of European and islander traditions. Aruba is a melting pot of foreign and local cultures, hence the three days of Christmas and the Carnival. Here are some ways you can start celebrating Christmas on Aruba and experience all it has to offer.

Christmas Lights

Every year the islanders put up magnificent Christmas lights displays. One particular hill, Seroe Preto, is especially decorated with lights based on a theme. This is a popular tourist destination especially during the holidays, so check it out. OR you can just go driving at night time to enjoy the beautiful lights the Arubans have on their homes. We know beautiful Christmas lights displays are common everywhere, the Arubans have elevated Christmas lights decoration into an art form. Check these out, and you’re guaranteed to have a magical Christmas evening.

The Food

Oh, the food. Thinking about the delicious fusion feasts at Aruba makes our mouths water, and we’re sure you’ll be clamoring for them too. Like the month-long holidays, the food here is a reflection of Aruba’s melting pot nature. You can have anything from the traditional Christmas ham to dishes such as ayaca and arroz con pollo. Christmas-themed versions of sweets such as fruit cakes and pistachio cakes are available, and you can sip drinks such as chuculati pinda and ponche crema while looking at the Christmas lights.

Music and Dancing

The Arubans know how to throw a good party (hello, Carnival!), and they play diverse holiday music. You’ll here Christmas carols, Sinterklaas music (which is Dutch), and some South American sounds such as the gaita. Gaita music relies heavily on percussion instruments, but its songs range from ballads to activist songs. You’ll be able to hear Christmas songs sung in the gaita style, and it’s something you definitely shouldn’t miss.

If you want to hear music that’s truly Aruban, you should stick around after Christmas to hear the Dande. It’s a kind of musical tradition that exists only in Aruba. A group of musicians visit a house and play a special (and improvised) song wishing the family good luck and health for the coming year. The family gives money, and more songs are played depending on how generous they are. This tradition was almost extinct before some musicians banded together and started a revival.

Even if you already missed the Carnival, celebrating Christmas on Aruba is still an experience of a lifetime. It’s magical, and you’ll get a taste of many generations’ worth of cultural integration through the unique Aruban Christmas experience. Or you can start saving up now for next year’s holidays. That way, you can stay for the Carnival too. To fully maximize the experience, you have to accumulate a number of days’ leave, so start saving up so you can go celebrating Christmas on Aruba.