Netherlands Antilles (Curaçao)
The Netherlands Antilles consists of two groups of islands that form part of the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean Sea. The islands are Curaçao and Bonaire, which are just off the Venezuelan coast; and Sint Eustatius, Saba and Sint Maarten, which are located southeast of the Virgin Islands. These islands form an autonomous part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The islands' economy depends mostly upon tourism, international financial services, international commerce, shipping, and petroleum. The Netherlands Antilles are scheduled to be dissolved as a unified political entity on October 10, 2010, so that the five constituent islands will attain new constitutional statuses within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The origins of the population and location of the islands give the Netherlands Antilles a mixed culture.Tourism and overwhelming media presence from the United States have increased the regional United States influence. On all the islands, the holiday of Carnival has become an important event after its importation from other Caribbean and Latin American countries in the 1960s. Festivities include "jump-up" parades with beautifully colored costumes, floats, and live bands as well as beauty contests and other competitions. Carnival on the islands also includes a middle-of-the-night j'ouvert (juvé) parade that ends at sunrise with the burning of a straw King Momo, cleansing the island of sins and bad luck.
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