the celebrations around New Year’s Eve in Curaçao last a whole week. The parties are celebrated exuberantly by the islanders, and if you happen to be in Curaçao during that period, you are in for a treat. Let yourself be surprised by the different festivities and traditions.
New Year’s Eve in Curaçao is celebrated on December 31st. A huge number of fireworks are set off during the festivities that last for a week. Traditional dishes are served and parties are organized all over the island. It is one of the most important celebrations of the year.
Drive to the firework shows
In the days before New Year’s Eve, several large companies, organizations and neighborhoods organize fireworks shows. Kooyman’s fireworks show (the island’s largest hardware store) is one of the most famous.
You visit the fireworks show by car and watch the fireworks next to it. There’s a huge traffic jam in the immediate vicinity. Because of that you may have to watch the show from a nearby street. Bring a folding chair and a filled cool box. The firework shows are one of the first events of the festive week.
Make a reservation for a New Year’s Eve dinner
New Year’s Eve on Curaçao guarantees a spectacular party. If you prefer to take it easy and end the new year with a nice dinner, you can make a reservation at one of the restaurant that will organize a New Year’s Eve event.
Resorts and fancy restaurants serve a 5-course menu including various amuse-bouches and matching wines. Check on the spot which restaurants organize a New Year’s Eve dinner.
Go to the Pagara Party XXL
Lighting pagaras is one of Curaçao’s most beloved traditions. Pagaras are rolls of firecrackers that can fill an entire street. It is believed that the smoke and loud bangs scare away evil spirits before the new year starts. In reality it’s more of a social event often associated with a party.
The Pagara Party XXL takes place every year in the Pietermaai district. This pagara runs through the entire district and has a length of hundreds of meters. The Pagara starts in the afternoon and the party with live music and a DJ continues for hours. This is really an amazing experience and a must visit if you’re staying in Curaçao during New Year’s Eve.
Celebrate Dutch New Year’s eve
The Dutch New Year is celebrated on December 31st early in the evening. 7 p.m. local time is the equilevant of midnight in the Netherlands. The European Dutch community in Curaçao celebrates New Year’s Eve twice that night. There are street parties in Punda and Pietermaai and celebrations at various beach clubs and resorts. There’s an actual count down and people start to set off fireworks. People call their relatives in the Netherlands to wish them a happy new year from the tropics.
Eat oliebollen with friends and family
On New Year’s Eve it’s time to eat oliebollen. An oliebol is a deep-fried ball of dough, filled with raisins and small pieces of apple. It is a Dutch tradition to eat oliebollen in the days before New Year’s Eve until the first day of the new year.
How to eat an oliebol? You pick up an oliebol in a napkin and you will dip it in powdered sugar for that extra sweet taste.
Most people make the oliebollen themselves and hand them out at parties. You can also buy them at various supermarkets, shopping malls and bakeries in Curaçao. Ask around and someone will probably know where they sell oliebollen that day.
Attend a New Year’s Eve resort party
Dress your best and clink the champagne glasses! Several Curaçao beach resorts will organize a New Year’s Eve event for guests and locals to attend. The resorts provide an exclusive dinner, snacks, live music, champagne and fireworks on the beach.
Each resort creates its own event, so check in advance what options your resort offers. If your accommodation does not organize a New Year’s Eve party, it may be possible to attend a party at a nearby resort.
Celebrate New Year’s Eve in Willemstad
The turn of the year in Willemstad is the main event of all festivities. Family and friends bring folding chairs and a well-stocked cool box into town and look for the perfect spot to celebrate the New Year. The best spots can be found at the Brionplein in Otrobanda and the Handelskade in Punda. At the stroke of midnight, the fireworks are set off over the Sint Anna Bay. It’s a magnificent sight!
Join the afterparties
After midnight, several bars and beach clubs organize an afterparty so that you can party until sunrise. Don’t expect a big party as most of the celebrations have already started during the day and there will be parties again during the day tomorrow. The islanders use the night to sleep in until the next party begins.
Go to the Nieuwjaarsduik party
The next, and first party of the year is the Nieuwjaarsduik (New Year’s jump) at Beach club Zanzibar in Jan Thiel. Hundreds of people gather on the beach to jump into the sea wearing an orange knitted hat.
The participants in Curaçao are wearing knitted accessories in tribute to the freezing temperatures in their home country.
Registration to attend the event starts at 9 in the morning and the jump takes place around noon, exactly 12 hours after the turn of the year. Anyone can participate or watch, all nationalities are welcome at the party, just make sure to arrive early!
Go wild at Fuikdag
The most extravagant party of the year takes place at the first Sunday of the new year in the Fuik Bay. During Fuikdag, hundreds of boats and inflatables gather in a bay on the east side of the island to party on the water.
Fuikdag is internationally known and attracts many visitors, including celebrities from all over the world. Boats are reserved for this day a year in advance. It’s a day full of drinking, dancing and barbecuing on the boats. Do you want to know what Fuikdag looks like? Check the following video for an impression.