The Aruba people are the friendliest you will ever meet. Their cordiality and hospitality make you feel at home the minute you set foot on Aruba.
Everyone we met, from the hotel cleaning ladies, to the "captain" of our parasailing excursion, had an ear to ear smile. Living in a tropical paradise, is it any wonder why they are so happy. After all, Aruba is "One Happy Island".
The people of Aruba are generally of mixed ancestry, from Caquetio Indian, to African and European roots, which coincides with
the history of the island.
While other islands suffered from the squabbling of European nations, Aruba remained relatively unwanted because its desert land was not good for sugar production. The island of Aruba was claimed by the Spanish, and the original inhabitants, the Caquetio Indians, were shipped to the mines of Hispaniola.
Aruba was quickly repossessed by the Dutch when the Spanish abandoned it after determining it was useless for cultivating cash crops. When gold was discovered on Aruba, the Dutch brought back the Arawak (Caquetio Indian) slaves.
In 1863, after the abolition of slavery, many of the Arawaks remained on the island.
You can find more details about Aruba history here.
Many of the annual celebrations on Aruba get their beginnings from the unique traditions of it’s people. For example, Aruba is the only country to celebrate the Dia Di San Juan Day. This celebration is based on the Arawak Indian harvest festival, and Arubans dress in red and yellow to represent fire. But when the Spanish conquered the island, Spanish missionaries combined the pre-Christian customs of the harvest with the celebration of San Juan.
Today, the music played at many of the festivals is calypso, soca, or reggae, often accompanied by the resonance of steel pans or drums.
The weekly Bon Bini Festival is a great way to experience modern Aruban culture and music. Bon Bini means “welcome” in the native language, Papiamento. The festival is a family oriented event that takes place every Tuesday from 6:30-8:30 at Fort Zoutman in downtown Oranjestad. Besides the local rhythms, and dancers, you can find local food and drink and also arts and crafts from local artists.
Every Friday evening near the southern tip of the island, the San Nifete street festivalon is held on Main St. in San Nicolas. Here you will also find, local music, a talent show, and local crafts and foods.
Aruba's strong economy, excellent living conditions and fantastic weather continues to attract individuals from all over the world.
Over the years, people from all over the world have found their way to Aruba with large numbers of immigrants coming from South America (primarily Colombia, Venezuela and Peru), other Caribbean islands as well as from countries as far away as China and the Philippines, and even from 17 different African countries.