July 2, 2012 - Flag Day in Curacao

A dance party!
A softball tournament!
Traditional foods!

Today's fun and games in the Caribbean island of Curacao are in celebration of the country's Flag Day. (Curacao used to be part of the Netherlands Antilles but is now “a constituent country of theKingdom of the Netherlands.” It's also the “C” part of the “ABC islands,” along with Aruba and Bonaire.) 

Curacao used to be the home of some Arawak Amerindians, but the architecture and languages show more influence from Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese, and African peoples. Many people on the island speak four languages: Spanish, Dutch, English, and a “creole language” called Papiamento. (Apparently, an awful lot speak FIVE languages, because they add to this list either French or German!) A creole is a language created from a mixture of two or more languages—created largely by children from different language traditions trying to communicate with each other! This particular creole comes from African languages mixed with either Portuguese or Spanish, with some influence from Dutch, English, and Amerindian languages.

Today people in Curacao celebrate their “melting pot” of peoples and cultures by eating such dishes as intestine soup, cornmeal paste, papaya stew, fried plantain (banana) and coconut sweets. Yum?

One of the most famous scuba dives in the waters of Curacao explores the “mushroom forest.” You might guess that divers don't really see a forest of mushrooms (which are fungi), but instead see a variety of coral formations and loads of fish. Many of the corals (which are animals) are called “mushroom corals.” Check out this lovely dive!

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