Sinterklaas comes to former Dutch lands in the Caribbean, including Aruba. The boat from Spain arrives in the harbor of Oranjestad, the capital.
People come from all over the island. Parents and children wait along the quay sor the steamer to dock. Sinterklaas and his Pieten helpers disembark and process through the streets of Oranjestad. A festive atmosphere pervades the area.
Children in Aruba put their shoes out for Sinterklaas and the Pieten to leave little treats during the time between Sint’s mid-November arrival and the primary Sinterklaas celebration the evening of December 5. Sinterklaas is busy during these weeks making school and other visits.
Parties on December 5 are a time when children receive gifts, and sometimes, Sinterklaas and Pieten may even make a visit.
In June 2020 blackface makeup for “Black Pete” was banned in Aruba. Culture Minister Xiomara Maduro said she doesn’t want to encourage a celebration that would offend people, asking people to use multicolor makeup or none. “Not every problem has been resolved, but this is a first step,” she said.