Curaçao is a part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, though a separate country. As part of the kingdom, they celebrate Dutch public holidays, including the King’s Birthday.
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Koningsdag, translated King’s Birthday, is the birthday of Willem-Alexander, the sitting monarch of the Netherlands and of Curaçao. It is celebrated on his actual birthday, which is 27 April. When Queen Beatrix reigned, the day was called Koninginnedag, meaning “Queen’s Birthday”, but that all changed when she abdicated in 2013. The holiday’s date also shifted from 30 April to 27 April at that time.
In Curaçao, King’s Birthday is celebrated much as in the Netherlands. There are concerts in public squares and streets. Many go to the public markets to buy and sell used items – a kind of massive, national garage sale! There are fairs too, and kids play old-time games like catching spice cake in your mouth as it dangles from a string or skilfully lowering a string-tied nail into a glass bottle.
Also, many wear orange or even paint their faces orange or dye their hair orange. This phenomenon is called “orange madness”. Most businesses close down for the day, and people may stay up partying in the street all night on King’s Birthday Eve.
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