Aruba has two official languages: Dutch and Papiamento. Dutch is the official language of government of Aruba. Papiamento is a creole language, of which Portuguese is the basis. Dutch, English, French and Afrikaans have also had much influence on the language. Papiamento is only used on Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao, but varies by island in spelling and grammar. Besides Papiamento many residents also speak English and Spanish.
The majority of the population (over 80%) of Aruba is Roman Catholic. The remainder include Protestant, Jehova and Jewish. The strong Roman Catholic Church is well reflected in Aruba. There are several attractions that are worth visiting such as the Alto Vista chapel and St. Anne's Church in Noord, the St. Francis Church in Oranjestad and the Lourdes Grotto in San Nicolas.
Festivals and holidays
The famous Caribbean way of festivities you also see a lot in Aruba. Every Tuesday there is the Bonbini festival at Fort Zoutman in Oranjestad and every Thursday evening the Carubbian festival in San Nicolas. There are also many weekly shows and festivals in and around the hotels of Palm Beach. In February / March is the annual carnival parade, ending with the Grand Carnival Parade on Sunday. Arubans are walking and dancing on different floats in dazzling costumes. On Ash Wednesday the farewell parade is held.
Aruba has many of the same holidays as the Netherlands:
- January 25: Betico Croes day (celebration of the founder of the Status Aparte of Aruba)
- February / March: Carnival
- March 18: National Day (celebration of independence of the Netherlands Antilles in 1986)
- Good Friday, Easter and Ascension
- April 27: King's day
- May 1: Labour Day
- June 24: St. Johannesdag (originally a harvest festival)
- December 5: Saint Nicholas (Sinterklaas)
- December 25 & 26: Christmas
- December 31: New Year's Eve