Simadan Festival

Simadan Festival

February-April
Simadan is a folk festival celebrating the sorghum harvest on the island of Bonaire in the Netherlands Antilles. Sorghum is a cereal grass, and it was at one time a staple for the island's natives. Farm owners, known as kunuku, enlist the aid of their friends, family, and neighbors to harvest the crop. To give thanks for the assistance and the abundant harvest, they hold a Simadan consisting of traditional food, song, and dance.
Foods served at the festival include goat soup, funchi (similar to finely textured grits), giambo (okra soup), repa (sorghum-based pancakes), and boontji kunuku (beans). The music features back-and-forth singing from one group to another accompanied by such instruments as the guitar, marimba, bari (drum), karko (conchshell), and triangle. Hand-clapping also drives the rhythm. The wapa, a Simadan dance, involves rows of dancers moving and interacting with each other to a steady beat.
In the past, Bonaireans stored their food in the Mangasina di Rey, or Storehouse of the King, located in the village of Rincon. At the height of the harvest season, the kunuku would make a thanksgiving offering of sorghum seed, which would be blessed by the priest and stored in the Mangasina di Rey. This took place during Easter and was known as Simadan di Pastor. This particular festival continues to be celebrated in Rincon and Nikiboko.
CONTACTS:
Bonaire Government Tourist Office, Adams Unlimited
80 Broad St., 32nd Fl., Ste. 3202
New York, NY 10004
800-266-2473 or 212-956-5912; fax: 212-956-5913
www.tourismbonaire.com