Bonaire celebrates New Year’s Day with a public holiday every 1 January, as does most of the rest of the world. However, the celebrations really begin on New Year’s Eve and reach a high point with the turning of the clock from 11:59pm on 31 December to midnight on 1 January.
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New Year’s Day is a time of resolutions and starting fresh for some, while for others it is spent recovering from a big, late night spent with friends and family.
New Year’s Eve sees excessive fireworks shows exploding in the night sky over sandy beaches and sea. Almost everyone is off work and out doing something or celebrating at home with family. The festivities seem to infuse the air with a spirit of celebration.
There is one New Year’s event in Bonaire, however, that is rather unique. It is called “Maskarada Maskarada”. It dates from the days when Bonaire was a Spanish colony.
What happens during Maskarada Maskarada is that local villagers from all over the island don traditional or creative attire and congregate outside the house of the Lieutenant Governor of the island. They proceed to show off their costumes, dance, and make merry while wishing the lieutenant governor a happy new year.
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