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The island’s melting pot has created a unique culture.

The Bonairean culture is reflected in the faces of her people. Its origins are as varied as are the ethnic roots of the 21,000 residents. The real Bonairean culture is based on traditions that go back many generations and are chronicled in the songs and dances that are performed during holidays and festivals. It is also based on strong family ties and a general respect for nature and an understanding of an environment that originally was foreign to those first settlers and slaves that were forced to work the inhospitable, arid land.

Those early days of slavery conditioned the people to be strong in the face of adversity. And, it was during this time that the spirit of the people began to develop and they made up songs, invented dances, and began to sing in the old African Tradition. These songs and dances evolved into festivals and have survived to become an important part of life and culture on Bonaire.

Cultural dances.

The dances of the Simadan and the Bari are the best known. The traditional Waltz, Mazurka and the Polka and the local “Baile di Sinta” (ribbon dance) were performed as well as the Rumba, the Carioca, and Merengue which came from other islands. American Jazz also influenced the local traditions of song and dance. Along with an eclectic assortment of homemade musical instruments, those early performers set the stage for a rich, local tradition which continues on to this very day.

Cultural events throughout the year.

The calendar of events will alert visitors to those that are taking place during their particular vacation period. The period from January 1-6 is Maskarada, while the Simadan, the Spring Harvest Festival, occurs from the end of February until the end of April, and the summer months celebrate Dia di San Juan and Dia di San Pedro with crioyo music and fire-jumping! Bari runs from the end of October to the end of December.

Dia di Rincon (Rincon Day), an annual celebration of culture.

Many of the festivals are regional. It may be strange that an island this small has regional differences, but the fact is that there are some subtle and not so subtle differences from neighborhood to neighborhood. The Village of Rincon is perhaps more apt to celebrate all the holidays in grand style, while the village of North Salina devotes a lot of energy to Maskarada. The best example of strong cultural ties is during Dia Di Rincon (Rincon Day). Thousands of participants come from all the Dutch Caribbean islands to celebrate.

Bonaire Day is celebrated each year on September 6th.

Bonaire’s Flag Day, Dia di Boneiru, is celebrated every year on September 6th.  Bonaire may be a small island, but it has huge national pride.  The Annual Blessing of the Fishing Fleet is usually held on a weekend in September as well.

The cultural tradition continues to be influenced to this day. Visitors may just as well enjoy a Mariachi band or a local group performing on the same venue. Some of the most beautiful music you will hear may be a Mozart or Vivaldi piece played with an Antillean beat.

Bonaire offers many cultural events, focusing upon its folkloric background.
The Maskarada perform every New Year's Day.
Dia di Boneiru is Bonaire's flag day.
Visitors can enjoy many folkloric dance events.
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Upcoming Events › Culture

November 2020

Nos Zjilea Cultural Event

November 28 @ 8:00 am - 2:00 pm AST
|Recurring Event (See all)

One event on August 29, 2020 at 8:00 am

One event on September 26, 2020 at 8:00 am

One event on October 31, 2020 at 8:00 am

One event on November 28, 2020 at 8:00 am

One event on December 26, 2020 at 8:00 am

Mangazina di Rei, Boulevard Miguel A. Pourier z/n,
Rincon, Bonaire,
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Mangazina di Rei hosts a monthly cultural event on Bonaire.

The Nos Zjilea event has a fusion of local arts and crafts, plants and vegetables, and educational presentations. Enjoy the delicious food while listening to some of the best local musicians as they play live at Mangazina di Rei terrace. At the local market, one may taste and buy various local fresh products, such as the line of locally produced natural fruit juices, Made in Rincon, herbal medicines, local delicacies and dishes, local art, and much more.

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December 2020

Bonaire Christmas Shopping Night

December 19 @ 6:00 pm - 11:00 pm AST
Wilhelmina Park, Plaza Wilhelmina
Kralendijk, Bonaire,
+ Google Map
Have your picture taken with Santa Claus on the Bonaire Chriistmas Shopping Night!

During this event, Kaya Grandi will be closed to traffic, giving pedestrians the opportunity to walk around freely and enjoy the last minute shopping in a Christmas-wonderland atmosphere. Santa Claus will be there so the kids (both little or big) can have their pictures taken with him. There will be stands selling delicious traditional Bonaire Christmas food items such as Ayaka, and Oliebollen.  Arts and crafts will abound as well, perfect for those last-minute holiday purchases. And then there is…

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April 2021

Dia di Rincon hosts a multitude of culture, music, and dance.

Dia di Rincon / Rincon Day Holiday

April 30, 2021
Rincon, Rincon, Bonaire, + Google Map

Legal Holiday

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