Tenerife’s Carnival and Other Festivals

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Santa Cruz, Tenerife’s capital, hosts the world’s second largest carnival, only beaten by Rio de Janeiro. It’s not just Santa Cruz that gets into the carnival spirit though, you will find many other towns and cities like Puerto De La Cruz, Los Cristianos, Los Realejos and Los Gigantes all getting involved. Carnival season generally starts in February, although we are still waiting for 2018 dates to be confirmed. The North’s carnivals normally take place first and are then followed by areas within the South of Tenerife. The carnivals take place in the towns streets, which are decorated to compliment the chosen theme for that year. There will be various stalls and kiosks with beverages, food and a typical fairground with games lining the carnivals area. Each year there are elections for the Carnival Queen, her Court and for the Junior Carnival Queen and once that is over a parade takes place to announce the beginning of the carnival. Many different competitions also take place between Carnival groups, bands and dance schools having a wonderful party atmosphere. To get into the festive spirit many revellers attend in a variety of colourful costumes and fancy dress. The end of the carnival is marked by the Burial of the Sardine. In Santa Cruz, the Sardine is a thirty-foot papier-mache fish but in other areas it is made up of rags and clothes. The sardine gets paraded through the streets following by an entourage of mourners, male “widows” dressed in miniskirts and fishnets, in floods of tears. All other festivities end the following Saturday or Sunday with the “Pinata Chica”. Many of Tenerife’s festivals are focused around religious beliefs, even Carnival is impacted by Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. There are so many different festivals celebrated on this island we couldn’t write about them all but have included the ones that we believe are extraordinary. Throughout Tenerife, people celebrate Kings Day on 6th January. This is believed to be the day that the Three Kings gave the gifts of gold, Frankincense and Myrrh to baby Jesus. In the same way that many children across the world get excited for the arrival of Santa Claus, Spanish children celebrate the arrival of the Three Kings. Festivities begin on the night of the 5th in the towns, including Adeje and Santa Cruz, with the arrival of the Three Kings who parade through the streets on camels, throwing sweets to all of the children watching. Locals and visitors come together to embrace this tradition and follow the kings as far as they can through the streets. On the Sunday closest to the 17th of January, Arona celebrates the festival of Saint Antonio Abad. During this celebration you will experience traditional Canarian dance, music and dress. During the week of Easter, you will find different celebrations across the Island. La Laguna celebrates “Semana Santa” with two main processions, The Magna at 5pm Good Friday and later at 9pm there is the Silent Procession. The latter of the two has been described as moving and unnerving as this procession takes place once the city’s lights have been turned off and only flickering candles are used to light the way. Adeje and Candelaria each individually re-enact the Passion on Good Friday.