Courtesy of: The Morning News
By: Rosalie Klein
A final night of farewell was conducted on Tuesday, February 12, as island carnival fanatics enjoyed one last evening of the idiosyncratic music, dance and pageantry that is Aruba’s largest cultural event.
The complete pantheon of carnival royalty for this year, the Prins and Pancho and Carnival Queens, along with the volunteers of the Stichting Arubaanse Carnival, (SAC) the foundation that organizes and conducts the events, were on hand to set alit an effigy of Rey Momo.
The festive figure stems from Caribbean lore, ruling the night and overseeing celebrations of wild abandonment; in other words: the ultimate party animal!
This year’s top winning Tumba contestants, including King Jeffrey Kelly and a parade of bands entertained all those gathered to bid Carnival 59 farewell in one final night of bacchanalia.
A sumptuously garbed Rey Momo burned at the stroke of midnight, heralding in Ash Wednesday and Lent. The ritual burning, punctuated by an explosion of firework embedded in the effigy, also helps to frighten away evil spirits, protecting the island and its inhabitants until carnival is resurrected again on November 11.
SAC members expressed their thanks to all the organizations, artists, performers and carnival groups that contributed their time and talents towards making Carnival 59 another memorable celebration of life.