Carnival is the most popular festivity in Santa Cruz de Tenerife and the most participative of those held on the Canary Islands. In 1980, it was declared “Fiesta of International Tourist Interest”, and in 1987, it entered the Guinness World Record Book as the largest gathering of people in an outdoor plaza to attend a concert- more than 200.000 people.
Right after the famous Carnival of Rio de Janeiro, Tenerife is on the second place, when it comes to spectacular Carnival events.
Just like in Brazil, Salsa and Samba Rhythms accompany the colourful Carnival procession in Tenerife.
However, only a few people know, that Carnival in Tenerife is something very special
Tenerife’s carnival season gets under way in february, with events all over the island.
Every year the capital of Tenerife gets dressed up to greet the carnival which is classified as touristically valuable and counts as one of the most spectacular carnivals in all over the world.
Thousands of joyfully celebrating dressed ups are dancing on the streets and enjoy themselves till the early morning hours.
Santa Cruz’s raucous carnival dates back over 200 years and has survived famine, epidemic and the Spanish Civil War to become one of the world’s best-known. Worried island officials had calculated that banning or restricting the the night-time carnival activities could cost the local economy a massive 5,000,000 Euros and seriously damage the island’s tourism reputation.
The carnival was officially banned during the 36 years of dictator General Francisco Franco, who ruled Spain from 1939 to 1975. He outlawed carnival but many places, including Tenerife, openly defied the ban, continuing to stage the carnival celebrations but under a different name.
The celebrations begins with the choosing of the Carnival Queen, a lavish all-night event which is screened live on television and attracts huge audiences across the island.
The carnival continues with wild street parties, loud music, dancing and thousands of people in costume. So numerous are the crowds that it seems at times that the entire population of the island is out partying.
The Carnival officially ends, with the “Entierro de la Sardina“. During this ceremony, a large sardine, made of papier-maché is burned and represents thus the end of the winter. Moreover, the sardine usually contains a number of fireworks that will explode when it is finally burned in the fire.