Every year people are itching to know the dates of carnival on Tenerife. In theory, they’re easy for anyone to work out for any year as they are always linked to Lent.
It’s believed Carnival originated in Italy around 1268. The name originates from the Latin ‘carne valle’ meaning ‘goodbye to meat’ alluding to the need to use up meat and animal products, such as eggs and milk, before devout Catholics give them up for Lent; hence Pancake Day in Britain; the only practice to survive the Reformation.
The tradition of celebrating Carnival subsequently spread throughout the Catholic countries of Europe, arriving in the Canary Islands with the Spanish conquistadores in the fifteenth century.
The problem with the carnival and Lent rule is that it only applies to the towns and cities where there is a long history of carnival stretching back centuries. Some resort areas such as Los Cristianos and Los Gigantes have taken up the tradition but, presumably not wanting to coincide with the bigger northern carnivals, choose dates that have no historic or religious connection. This makes it almost impossible to work out when carnival is taking place in these locations until their local councils get around to publicising them, which is often last minute.
Despite most press articles/blogs focussing only on Santa Cruz, there are actually carnivals all over Tenerife. However, in the interest of brevity I’m only going to concentrate on the four that get most attention from visitors to the island.
Carnival Dates for Santa Cruz: 11 to 22 February 2015: Theme – The Future
Election of the Carnival Queen: 11 February 9.30pm
Cabalgata (opening parade): 13 February 8pm
Coso Apoteosis (closing parade): 17 February 4pm
Burial of the Sardine: 18 February 9pm
Carnival del Dia: 21 February from 1.30pm
Actual End of Carnival: 22 February from 10am
You might have noticed a couple of events after the Burial of the Sardine which is the traditional end of carnival. In reality it carries on until the following weekend, so the end of carnival for Lent is basically a technicality.
Carnival Dates for Puerto de la Cruz: 12 to 21 February 2015: Theme – The 80s
Election of the Carnival Queen: 12 February 9pm
Cabalgata (opening parade): 14 February 7.30pm
Burial of the Sardine: 18 February 9.30pm
Mascarita Ponte Tacon (Drag High Heels Marathon): 20 February 10pm
Coso Apoteosis (closing parade): 21 February 4pm
There are a couple of things to note. Puerto’s opening parade can vary year by year and has been a small scale to ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ affair in recent years. Forget the starting time for the High Heels Marathon, timings are all over the place for that one and the fun starts much earlier.
There are far more events taking place over the week of carnival in both locations, with lively street parties most nights (Thursday is a rest night in Puerto de la Cruz). Some nights are better than others. The opening street party is obviously one of the best nights for partying as everyone is fied up and ready to go. Monday is also a big night, which can have an impact on enthusiasm levels at the closing parade in Santa Cruz the following day.
Carnival Dates for Los Gigantes: 27 February to 2 March 2015
Details are still not available for specific events so these dates are based on patterns in previous years and are provisional.
Election of the Carnival Queen: 27 February 9pm
Dia del Niño: 28 February 9pm and Masked Ball from 11pm
Coso Apoteosis (closing parade): 1 March, 5pm
Burial of the Sardine: 2 March
Carnival Dates for Los Cristianos: 6 to 16 March 2015
It’s even more hazy with Los Cristianos regarding confirmation of specific dates. But if the pattern follows previous years for the two most popular events with visitors, the dates should be:
Coso Apoteosis (closing parade): 15 March, 4pm
Burial of the Sardine: 16 March 8pm
We’ll update once further details are known.
Jack is co-editor, writer and photographer for BuzzTrips and the Real Tenerife series of travel websites as well as a contributor to online travel sites and travel magazines. Follow Jack on Google+