On 30 April 1980, Queen Juliana abdicated, and her daughter Princess Beatrix was crowned as Queen of the Netherlands. This day was also “Koninginnedag”, celebrating Queen Juliana’s birthday, and, as in all of the Netherlands and its overseas territories, there were festivities. In Oranjestad, Sint Eustatius, there was music and a torch parade the night before, and on the day itself, there were celebrations in Fort Oranje, the 17th-century fortress. The festivities lasted well into the night.
Carnival is, as on other islands, a huge celebration. Curaçao’s Carnival in early February is one of the largest and longest-lasting Carnival spectacles of the Caribbean. In the “Gran Marcha”, the Grand Carnival Parade, the various groups march and dance to music and drumming in Willemstad in their elaborate, colourful costumes. They march through Otrabanda, finishing on the De Rouvilleweg along Sint Annabaai (St. Anna Bay). The following day the Children’s Carnival Parade also winds its way, seven kilometres, along the same route. They are all wearing earplugs to protect their hearing from the deafening music!
The final parade of Bonaire’s Karnaval (Carnival) celebrations is at night along Kaya Nikiboko in Kralendijk. It ends at a giant effigy of King Momo, representing all the elements that must vanish before the fasting period begins with Lent; it is spectacularly burnt at midnight: the puppet is filled with fireworks.