Mélange Travel & Lifestyle Magazine July 2018 - Page 86

Dande Dance There are many exciting traditions circling through the island of Aruba. Their culture and associated celebrations are vibrant throughout the year. One of the most powerful traditions is the Dande dance, which allows everyone to spread goodwill to friends and neighbors. flowers in their hair to look brighter and bolder. Each group of talented performers contains about five to six dancers, maybe more, and one singer. They travel from house to house, expressing well wishes and good fortune to everyone they perform This beautiful tradition happens for. It’s more common for the every year on New Year’s Eve. Many performers to travel to the houses of years ago, the tradition almost died their friends and family during the out, but a few strong-willed locals celebration. The reason is that in the weren’t about to let the citizens songs each person is mentioned by forget the rich history that goes name. These performances are meant along with the dance. The root of to make the listeners feel loved and this celebration reaches back to 1880, cherished, so who wouldn’t want when King William the III declared such a personalized touch? for all slaves to be freed. This led to open celebration and a long- As the dancers dance gracefully, and standing tradition of prosperity and the singer belts out a magnificent happiness. song, the host collects money in a hat. This is to bring good luck to Dande comes from the Papiamento all the performers, as he or she will word Dandara, meaning to revel, share everything in the hat with carouse, and have a good time. the others. Sometimes, when the No other Caribbean island has performance at one house is done, a tradition like this. Dande is an the head of the household will offer annual festival for all ages and drinks. In current times, these drinks generations. The locals that revived are non-alcoholic, as there are more this precious dance wanted to keep people to celebrate with than in the the historic stories and customs past. alive. Each generation must know their history and enjoy the pleasures The group continues to perform at as that come from it. many houses as they can. They wish to spread goodwill and prosperity Every New Year’s Eve, the Arubans to every household and celebrate all set off magical fireworks across the throughout the night. This is a time island. Then, when midnight strikes, of happiness and connecting with the champagne corks start popping loved ones. Some regions in Aruba and the island explodes with love love this tradition so much that they and laughter. Next, the traveling have groups performing around the singers and dancers start their island on the second day of the year journey to perform the dance. The as well. The Dande dance is a crucial traditional outfit worn is a light blue piece of Aruban culture, and they dress lined with yellow and white. cherish it with a strong passion in Some of the ladies may even put their hearts. Photo Credit: Aruba Tourism Authority