Discover Carnivals Spain

Carnivals are Tenerife's most renowned tradition. They take place in early February. This festival, featuring fancy dress and light-hearted fun, has been celebrated in Tenerife since its creation by Castillian and Portuguese settlers, except in the early Franco years, when it was forbidden. The people of Tenerife, however, particularly passionate about this festivity, carried on celebrating it in spite of the ban, but under another name: las Fiestas de Invierno (the Winter Festivals).
Each municipality organises its own carnival, but the most popular and most famous one is that of Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Each municipality elects a carnival queen, and in the capital, the Grand Gala for the Queen's Election takes place (Gran Gala de Elección de La Reina), for the election of the queen of the whole island. Candidates don impressive sparkling costumes which require a great deal of effort from the candidates when taking them off and on. Many people are involved in their making and designing. Another essential feature of the carnivals is the groups of people who rehearse dances and songs throughout the year. The latter are performed by troupes of musicians, philharmonic societies and groups of people all amusing dressed up in the same way.
The parades are an intrinsic part of these festivities. Floats and crowds of people in fancy dress unite to give the island an incomparable atmosphere. This is a very entertaining ambience indeed, carrying on night after night until Miércoles de Ceniza (Ash Wednesday, in English), the day when the people of Santa Cruz bury a sardine, putting an end to the Carnival. The festivities resume the following week, though, with what are known as 'Fiestas de Piñata' (or 'basket of goodies' in English).

  • Carnivals , Spain
    Carnivals
    © Philip Lange / 123RF
  • Carnivals , The carnival queen , Spain
    The carnival queen

    Every town elects its own queen and then, during the Grand Cala in the capital, the island's carnival queen is elected.

    © Office du Tourisme des Canaries
  • Carnivals , Spain
    Carnivals

    Carnivals are celebrated at the beginning of February, and represent Tenerife's most famous tradition.

    © Office du Tourisme des Canaries
  • Carnivals , A huge, popular party , Spain
    A huge, popular party

    Each town organises its own carnival, but the most popular and famous one is held in Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

    © Office du Tourisme des Canaries
  • A crazy atmosphere, Carnivals, Arts and culture, The Canary Islands
    A crazy atmosphere

    In the month of February, the streets of the Santa Cruz de Tenerife, the capital, and those of Puerto de la Cruz, fill with enthusiastic participants.

    © ? Luciano de la Rosa Gutierrez
  • Carnivals , A clown parade , Spain
    A clown parade

    It is considered to be one of the largest and most popular carnivals in Europe, and the only one that can be compared to Rio de Janeiro carnival in Brazil.

    © Office du Tourisme des Canaries
Amy Adejokun
Amy Adejokun Expert destination Spain

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