Sunday, March 9, 2014
Aruba's National Flag and Anthem Day Events
March 18th is the official holiday on which we celebrate the existence of our National Anthem “Aruba Dushi Tera” and our blue, yellow, red and white National Flag. This year we are celebrating the 38th anniversary.
Driving around on the main roads especially from the hotels to Santa Cruz one finds open stands at or next to the houses displaying printed t-shirts, bandana, banners, and caps with Aruban flag theme available for purchase.
Preparations already started for the Annual Song Festival "Un Canto pa Aruba su Himno y Bandera" where local talents; kids and adults can romance the flag with their compositions with their muse wholly infused with love for the island Aruba.
During the festival all sorts of attractions come the fore including stands selling local crafts, stands with yummy Aruban snacks and sweets, stands with typical Aruban food, and for the little ones there will be a special recreational corner with entertainment for them to enjoy. The stands will open at 6:00 pm and the festival will start at 7:30 pm right after the official hoisting of the Aruban flag to the tune of the national anthem played and sung. The best part of all - entrance fee is just a smile!
Bolas Criollas is a popular sport tournament among locals and it is not missed on this special day. This is a traditional team sport coming from Venezuela, and very popular here during national holidays. Due to constant immigration from Venezuelans to Aruba in the early years this sport has been adopted and modified a little over the years. Its origins can be traced back to traditional European sports, such as Boccia and Pétanque.
Another very well-received tradition on this day is the event with competitions and games called “Spel zonder grenzen” (a Dutch word meaning “games without boundaries”) which are a staple part of the repertoire during national holidays and also the famous fair which is very well-liked by children. The "games without boundaries" will feature pillow fights, climbing a waxed pole, sack races and lots more.
In Oranjestad, Plaza Betico Croes serves as center stage for the traditional folkloric celebration with musical presentations by the winners of the song festival. Traditional food and goodies will also be available. It is fun to just get in a car and drive around visiting these places to celebrate this special day with us. You might even be able to admire the “Baile di Cinta” (Ribbon Dance). This dance participation is for male and female dancers alike sporting their patriotic colored costumes. They dance around a pole weaving or braiding ribbons in the colors of the national flag which are attached to the top of the pole. They dance to the music of the Caha di Orgel, to the beat of the Waltz, Danza, Tumba or Mazurka. How the dance is performed is very simple yet requires skill and timing. The end of the ribbon is fastened at the top of the pole and the other end is held by the dancers. During the dance the dancers swing around the pole braiding the ribbons. The ribbons will cover the pole over a certain length in beautiful colors and pattern and when the ribbons are getting too short to dance with; the dancers will turn around and dance in reverse order.
The Historical Museum at the Willem III tower in town will have a full day event featuring Aruban traditions and culture, with stands full of goodies, arts and crafts.
A not to be missed on March 18th is the sound and enthusiasm of Harley Davidson Motorcycles and Classic Cars clubs year after year they parade through the streets of Aruba waving the Aruba flag until sun sets.
The food and treats presented at the various sites include Keri Keri (minced shark), Pisca Tempera (pickled fish) Cabrito stoba (Kid stew), Sanger Yena, Cocada (a sweet treat made of sugar and coconut) and sweet bread like drigidek, panlefi, mancaron and much more.
Though attendance is high everywhere, activities and happenings are never uncomfortably crowded. The patriotism shown is healthy and proud. Flag Day is a time of celebration and fun for all.