The culture of the Cocolos being from West Indian islands followed them where ever they went...and it was no different in DR. The Cocolos mixed British and African cultures and created their own; their ancestors were slaves brought from Africa to the Caribbean Islands, former British Colonies, and as any oppressed group of people, found comfort from their musical heritage and dance.
Fast forward a couple hundred years and you'll meet my greataunt Mary, descendent of a Cocolo. Mary Hodge was born on Feb 8, 1936 in Aruba (my grandfather's older sister), acknowledged by her father to carry the name Simon. Mary along with her two sisters moved to St. Maarten and hereafter back to Aruba, where they settled down in the Village in Sanicolas. The Village was where most West Indian descendants lived; for the most part because that was where the jobs were located (at the the Lago Oil Refinery). With many families from the West Indies having to uproot their families from one island to the next, they brought along with them their culture and customs for comfort.
In the early 1950s,My tante (aunt) Mary was one of the first people to start celebrating carnival in the village; she rounded up a group of friends and created the first of what we now know as "Parada di Sanicolas". With musical instruments made out of bottles, steel and plastic cups, they created music and danced through the streets of the village. It was a joyous occasion where everyone was able to let loose and be free and just have a good ol' time.
This year we marked our 56th year of carnival celebration on the island with parades in both Oranjestad and Sanicolas. A tradition (in Sanicolas) that was started by one lady who wanted to have a celebration of her [village's] cultural background. Thanks Tante Mary...for bringing this wonderful tradition to us.