806. New Year’s Klapchi (Fireworks)

Goon Lee pop-up.

Goon Lee pop-up.

Curaçao has over 30 pop-up shops selling klapchi (fireworks + firecrackers) to ring in the New Year… with a special light and a few loud bangs. “We believe klapchi fends off fuku (evil spirits / bad luck), we all grew up lighting klapchi! I really can’t imagine New Year’s Eve without them.” says Rizar Marchena (39), owner of a Klapchi pop-up shop on Cascoraweg (across the street from Radulphus College). Marchena employs a handful of teenage boys to serve customers (during their school break) and has been running his klapchi (side-)business for the past 7 years. Klapchi requires quite a bit of planning and logistics: Marchena puts in his order around January/February and imports all of his stock from China. He admits that he’s very lucky to have a local partner who’s fluent in Chinese to negotiate favorable deals.

Buying Klapchi.

Buying Klapchi.

Marchena has something for everyone who lives in Mahaai – donderbòs, sky bombs, pagaras for the sound-aficionados, beautiful light fountains and waterfalls for the aesthetics, egg-laying and clucking chickens for the toddlers, and artfully spinning pagodas for the design-minded. Parents are gatekeepers when it comes to klapchi; Marchena’s best-seller (by far) is his backpack — a bundle of super fun and relatively safe firecrackers and lights, tailor-made for children 6-12 years old.

Marchena's klapchi pop-up.

Marchena’s klapchi pop-up.

Extended families tend to bring in the new year together.  “Sure, it’s expensive… But think of it this way,  if a family of 12 spends NAf. 500 ($285) on klapchi that’s just NAf. 40 ($23) pp… well-worth the awesome experience!” says Marchena. He does have one very important piece of safety advice for klapchi aficionados: if you light it and nothing happens, leave it. DON’T check on it, hoping to re-light. Let it lie at a distance for a few minutes.


A father showing off Marchena's best-selling backpack.

A father showing off Marchena’s best-selling backpack.

About 1000awesomethingsaboutcuracao

I'm Carolina Gomes-Casseres, the creator of 1000 Awesome Things About Curaçao. I live in and love Manhattan, but sometimes miss my first Awesome island...


  1. John

    Goonlee is the best place to get your fireworks!!!

  2. John

    No one does it better than those people.

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