The Dande Festival

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The Dande Festival

Aruba's New Year traditions begin with a big bang before the big day, when Arubans light pagaras—strings of hundreds of firecrackers—all over the island to celebrate a good year and chase out bad vibes. New Year's Eve sees the traditional island-wide fireworks, but they also usher in the New Year with Dande music. It used to be a "stroll" with groups of musicians going from house to house singing good-luck greetings right after midnight, but now it has become a bona-fide organized festival held with big groups competing for prizes on December 27. Dande comes from the Papiamento word dandara, which means "to have a good time."

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