Rincon Day on Bonaire Date in the current year: April 30, 2024

Rincon Day on Bonaire Rincon Day is an official holiday on the Caribbean island of Bonaire, celebrated on April 30. This is a traditional harvest and Caribbean music and dance festival held in Rincon, one of Bonaire’s two towns.

Bonaire is an island in the Leeward Antilles in the Caribbean Sea. Together with Sint Eustatius and Saba, it forms the Caribbean Netherlands. Separately, each of the BES islands is a special municipality of the Netherlands. Although Bonaire is the largest of the three islands, its population is not big. The island has about 18,000 permanent residents and only two towns, Kralendijk (the capital) and Rincon (the oldest settlement on the island).

Rincon was established in the 16th century by the Spanish who needed an inland settlement to protect themselves from pirate attacks. When the Dutch took over the island, Bonaire became a plantation of the Dutch West India Company. African slaves, along with Indians and convicts, cultivated maize and dyewood.

Slaves on Bonaire were allowed to grow crops to feed themselves, provided that it did not interfere with their work on plantations. So when the harvest season came, they had to work twice as much. The end of the harvest was marked with a large festival called Simadan.

After the abolition of slavery in the Caribbean, most former slaves received some land and continued to farm for a living. Of course, the celebration of Simadan grew even bigger. Over the years, tourism has become Bonaire’s main source of income instead of maize and sorgo growing, so Simadan has transformed into Rincon Day (Dia di Rincon), a festival celebrating Caribbean culture.

Rincon Day is celebrated on April 30. At 8 a.m., the flag is raised in front of the city’s Catholic church, followed by the mass. After the mass, the festivities begin. There are numerous stalls offering traditional Caribbean food, drinks and souvenirs, music and dance in the streets, several stages hosting dance groups and live bands, and the vibrant Simadan parade that goes through town in the afternoon. The celebrations continue until the wee hours in the morning.

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Rincon Day on Bonaire, holidays on Bonaire, holidays in the Caribbean Netherlands, Simadan festival, harvest festival