Carnaval or Carnival…whichever way you spell it, means exuberant, outlandishness, leave your normal clothes at home and possibly, for the adults, some alcohol induced fun times to be had.
The preparations have begun, the annual television programs that get produced have started to appear on the local channels and the groups of bands and dancers that have been practising ever since last year’s festivals and fiestas are doing their dress rehearsals. It will soon be time for the Carnival queens to be chosen and the floats to be readied.
Carnivals in Tenerife, usually starting in February going through to March, are an annual tradition and if you’ve never seen it then it is something that you must add to your list of 100 things to do before you die. It is said that the celebrations in Tenerife are second only to São Paulo in Brazil, so that is praise indeed.
Clearly, to get one of the best experiences of Carnival time in Tenerife a visit to the capital, Santa Cruz, is a must. Be prepared for long queues both of the human and vehicular type. Local streets are closed and the processions wind their way along the main streets of the city, clearly marked for anyone who has not been before. Take a seat with you if you can, because to get a reasonable view of the parades, you will have to wait some time, but as soon as the lead floats arrive be prepared to lose your excellent view as the throng of spectators move in closer and are quite happy to stand in front of you. None of it is in malice; it’s just the way it is at Carnival time.
Santa Cruz at night is wild…if you haven’t been before make sure you are dressed accordingly i.e. fancy dress and try not to have too many valuables on your person and if you do make sure they are zipped away securely. Please don’t take this the wrong way, it’s not scaremongering, but there are obviously thieves about that take advantage of people who are drinking and in a very close environment…they are easy pickings…I should know, my brother-in-law has been pick pocketed in the last 2 years, and he’s been going there since he was 11 years old…really…he should know.
Not to be forgotten are the many Carnivals held around the island in pretty much all major towns and some larger villages. Much the same theme applies, Carnival queens from the local area, floats, dancers, musical and drum bands, singers and plenty of fancy dress is on offer.
Over the next week or two I am going to record and upload some of the practising drummers and obviously I will be going to one or two parades for those that cannot make it and I will let you know where to find the videos once I have done them.
Times and places are sometimes a little hit and miss, especially for the towns and village celebrations, if you want to see the 2012 Tenerife Carnival Program of events for Santa Cruz, it’s in Spanish but dates and times will be obvious or use Google Translate for an idea of what it says. The main dates for Santa Cruz are 21st February for the main parade and the 22nd of February for the Burial of the Sardine. To bring it all to an end there will be more parties the following weekend, but without so many floats, bands and dancers, it’s more the general party goers in their fancy dress celebrating.
Each individual town will have their own separate dates and you should be able to find those on the relevant municipality websites.
This year’s theme is “Flower Power” so it’s easy to get fancy dress…there’s no excuse…come on join the parties…Tenerife Carnival 2012…YYYaaayyyy…!!!