King Momo has long been the spirit animal of Carnival. Momo is a relic of the Greek god Momus, who was the god of mockery and satire, and long ago he was adopted as the patron saint of Carnivals. In Roman times, a handsome man was chosen to be King Momus and reign over the Saturnalia
festival. His job was to encourage others to eat, drink, and indulge, while doing the same himself, at excess. At the end of the festival, he was sacrificed to the gods.
In the ABC islands of Aruba
, Bonaire, and Curacao, the King Momo tradition continues. A larger-than life effigy made of wood and papermaché reigns over the Carnival festivities. He’s carried through the parades and parties, and then ceremoniously set on fire on Fat Tuesday in a nod to his Roman origins. Pyros or Burning Man fans, this is the Carnival for you.