Where to enjoy Canary Islands Carnival  🎭🏝️

Canary Islands Carnival
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Canary Islands Carnival is celebrated with a passion and fervour that captures the essence of these islands, offering visitors an immersive experience of one of the oldest and most colourful festivities in the world. These carnivals are not only a demonstration of the rich Canarian culture, but also an open invitation to tourists from around the globe to immerse themselves in a grand spectacle of music, dance and creativity.

🎉 What makes the Canary Islands Carnival so special?

The Canary Islands carnival shines for its ability to unite ancient traditions with contemporary enthusiasm, creating a vibrant celebration that attracts people of all ages and backgrounds. The diversity of events, ranging from majestic parades to bands and troupes competitions, showcases the boundless creativity of the islanders.

The election of the Carnival Queen, both in Tenerife and Gran Canaria, is an unparalleled event, where costumes that are true works of art and the fruit of months of dedication and effort, are on display. These celebrations are a testimony of the cultural identity of the Canary Islands, reflecting their spirit and passion for life.

In addition, Carnival is a time when inclusion and diversity shine brightly. Events such as the Drag Queen Gala in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria celebrate gender expression and sexual diversity with a show that is known worldwide for its audacity and creativity. This welcoming atmosphere invites everyone to participate, whether as spectators or protagonists, in a party where freedom and joy are the true protagonists.

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📚 Origins of the Carnival in the Canary Islands

The Carnival in the Canary Islands has roots that are lost in history, blending elements of the European, African and American cultures that have influenced these islands over the centuries. Originally, these carnivals began as a way of saying goodbye to pleasures and meat before the arrival of Lent; but over time, they have become much more than that, being a fundamental pillar of Canarian culture and a tourist attraction of the first magnitude.

Despite having faced periods of prohibition, especially during the dictatorship in Spain, the carnival has always found a way to survive, often being celebrated clandestinely, which shows the deep roots and cultural value it has for the Canarian people.

The evolution of carnival has been remarkable, from simple local celebrations to spectacular festivities that attract international attention. In the process, the original spirit of rebellion and merriment has been maintained, allowing each generation to bring something new to the tradition. This has allowed the carnival to be not only a reflection of Canarian history, but also a space for innovation and contemporary artistic expression.

🌴 Celebrations of Carnival in each Canary Island

Each island in the archipelago celebrates carnival in a way that reflects its unique identity and traditions.

Tenerife Carnival

🎭 Tenerife Carnival

The Carnival in Tenerife is arguably the most spectacular of them all, with Santa Cruz de Tenerife becoming the epicentre of a celebration that rivals in fame and magnitude the carnival in Rio de Janeiro. The election of the Tenerife Carnival Queen is the highlight, featuring costumes that are true masterpieces of textile engineering and creativity, some of which require months of work and thousands of euros in materials, weighing up to 400 kilos each.

In addition, the Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife offers a wide range of activities, from concerts and street dances to competitions of bands and troupes (comparsas and murgas). Beyond these big events, carnival is experienced on the streets of Tenerife, where locals and tourists mingle in a continuous party that lasts day and night. The tradition of dressing up is taken very seriously by the people of Tenerife. 

But when is the Carnival in Tenerife? Take into account that Tenerife Carnival dates changes every year, since it is fixed forty days before the Christian feast of Palm Sunday, and this does not depend on the Gregorian calendar (exclusively solar) but on the ancient solar/lunar calendar.

🎉 Gran Canaria Carnival

The Las Palmas de Gran Canaria carnival stands out for its inclusivity and its ability to celebrate diversity in all its forms. The Drag Queen Gala, an event that has gained international recognition, is a vibrant example of the open and welcoming attitude of this celebration. This contest is not only a talent competition but also a powerful statement of freedom of expression and acceptance of gender diversity.

The election of the Gran Canaria Carnival Queen is another highlight, featuring costumes that combine fantasy, technology and fashion in completely spectacular, eye-catching presentations. In addition, Las Palmas Carnival is also known for its family atmosphere and its numerous events designed for people of all ages: from workshops and activities for children to shows and competitions for adults.

Gran Canaria Carnival

🌺 Carnival on other islands

The other islands of the archipelago, although perhaps not as well known for their carnivals as Tenerife and Gran Canaria, offer unique celebrations that are a faithful reflection of their traditions and history.

One of the most famous carnivals is undoubtedly held on La Palma: the carnival of Los Indianos, inspired by the Canary Islanders who emigrated to Cuba and one of the most unique carnivals in Spain, where the arrival of wealthy emigrants from America is recreated with all the participants dressed in white and throwing talcum powder at each other.

Lanzarote and its “diabletes de Teguise”; Fuerteventura with the regatta of the Achipencos or the great carnival of Corralejo; El Hierro with the Fiesta de los Carneros (Rams Feast); or La Gomera with the Día de los Polvos de Talco y Añil, are just some of the Carnival celebrations in the Canary Islands that you can’t miss if you want to discover the cultural diversity of the Canary Islands. These smaller celebrations also offer a more intimate and authentic look of Carnival, and are perfect for those looking for a quieter experience or who wish to explore local traditions.

🏝️ Which is the best island to enjoy Canary Islands Carnival?

Choosing the best island to enjoy carnival in the Canary Islands is really a matter of personal preference. If you are looking for spectacle and grandeur, Tenerife is your destination with its world famous carnival that attracts visitors from all over the world. Here, Carnival is at its best with events that dazzle with their creativity and magnitude.

If you prefer a more diverse and edgy atmosphere, Gran Canaria’s carnival and its iconic Drag Queen Gala offer a unique experience that defies convention and celebrates diversity. Finally, for those interested in more local and authentic traditions, celebrations on the smaller islands, such as La Palma with its unique Los Indianos carnival, may be more appealing and offer a quieter, more relaxed experience.

Canary Islands Carnival is therefore a festival that offers a unique and very special vision of the Canaries, their particular idiosyncrasy, tradition and culture. Visiting the Canary Islands during Carnival is to immerse yourself in a world of joy, colour and creativity: an unforgettable experience that many choose to repeat year after year. So, what are you waiting for to enjoy it?

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Discovering Canarias

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