Updated 18 January 2017: A popular carnival in south Tenerife is that of Los Gigantes, and the dates for that are now confirmed as 10,11,12,17 & 18 March. The theme is “the farm”.
Updated 11 November 2016: I’ve been asked several times about the date for the Los Cristianos carnival, and am happy to be able to say that it’s now confirmed for 17-27 March. The theme will be Las Vegas, and the poster (left) has now been officially unveiled, with the playing card design reflecting the gambling centre of the world, but also the tension between good and evil appropriate to the carnival period and its relationship with Lent. The full programme for the “southern carnival” will be published nearer the time.
Original post 22 August: The Santa Cruz Carnaval 2017 will take place between 22 February and 5 March. The final full programme is still being fleshed out, but the carnival queen will be elected on 22 February, then the carnival moves onto the streets with the opening parade on the 24th. The Carnaval de Día will be on Sunday 26th, and the main Coso parade on the 28th. The burial of the sardine will follow on 1 March, with another Carnaval de Día on Saturday 4th. The Fin de Fiesta party with fireworks will bring the carnival to an end on Sunday 5th. The official website for Carnaval 2017 is HERE, and there’s a Facebook page HERE. After last year’s theme of The 1980s, 2017’s will be The Caribbean.
The Tenerife capital’s carnival isn’t just the largest in Tenerife, it is now an official Fiesta de Interés Turístico Internacional, the second largest in the world, with only the world-famous Rio de Janeiro Carnaval bigger. Including initial competitions, events take place over a month, with almost everything pretty much coming to a standstill in Tenerife! In the main carnival week, indeed, shops and banks have restricted hours, and many businesses close altogether on carnival Tuesday, which is a public holiday in many municipalities in Tenerife.
One of the most keenly anticipated events, or series of events, is the murga competitions – a sort of combination of farce, satire and music (involving a type of kazoo) with outlandish costume and group singing. They are phenomenally popular and there is saturation television coverage of all the stages and groups taking part. I’ve posted videos of them in previous years, e.g. HERE.
Perhaps most famous to outsiders, however, are the main parades, the choice of carnival queen, and the bizarre ceremony of the burial of the sardine on the eve of Lent. Men dressed as wailing widows, a gigantic fish in full make-up paraded through the town and then burnt – no-one seems to know what roots the tradition has, but it’s always one of the most popular parts of any carnival. In Santa Cruz’ 2017 carnival, the main parade will be on Tuesday, 28 February, and the burial of the sardine on Wednesday 1 March.
Two other Carnavals of great local interest are in Los Cristianos and Puerto de la Cruz. The first will be between 17 and 27 March, with Puerto de la Cruz – based on the theme of the Circus – between 19 February and 5 March, with the main parade on Saturday 4 March. For the moment, it’s still only August and we’re already on Carnaval countdown!