Carnival in the Canary Islands: A Winter Oasis

by Vanessa Johnson on Thursday, March 07, 2019

In the weeks leading up to Lent, everyone is getting ready for one of the most spectacular events on the Canary Islands: carnival. During this celebration, the seven islands step into the spotlight for the most colorful and joyful fiesta of the year.

Thanks to the pleasant subtropical climate, locals and visitors can let their imaginations run wild as they prepare fantastic costumes to wear without having to worry about the cold weather the rest of Spain suffers from this time of year. If you’d like to join us in discovering more about carnival in the Canary Islands, keep reading this post in English or switch to Spanish here.

Nights bursting with color

One of the pivotal moments is the election of the Queen of Carnival, who becomes the face of the festival. To compete for the title, several candidates show off enormous costumes adorned with feathers and beads of every color.

These flashy outfits can weigh as much as 450 pounds and are the result of months of work. International media flock to Tenerife and Las Palmas for the elections to cover the most famous part of Canarian carnival.

Music in the streets

Other highlights include the murgas, the Mogollones, and the parades of floats. The murgas are musical groups who sing satirical songs about current events. They dress up to participate in competitions and are similar to the chirigotas of Cadiz.

The Mogollones are celebrations that take place over several nights during the carnival season. Party-goers visit beach bars and street stands as music flows throughout the city.

One of the biggest crowd-pleasers are the parades. During the Gran Cabalgata in Las Palmas, close to 100 decked-out floats and cars parade through the city streets.

The finishing touch

All good things must come to an end, and carnival is no exception. In the Canary Islands, the burial of the sardine is the perfect finale. In keeping with long tradition, a mock funeral is held, and a large representation of a sardine is burned in the middle of a fireworks show.

This March, we invite you to come to our Spanish school in Tenerife and experience Canarian carnival for yourself. Enjoy a different kind of winter and immerse yourself in the joy of the Canarian people!


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