The Canary Islands are a place of astounding natural beauty, with its crystal-clear waters, picturesque landscapes, and pristine beaches. But there’s another aspect to these islands that adds a vibrant color to its charm – the Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife. This is not just a carnival, but a grand spectacle of culture, music, dance, and a celebration of life itself.
As you step off your plane, you may find yourself considering a car rental, a practical way to take in the full breath of the island’s offerings. However, this is not just any island; this is Tenerife, where the sun’s warmth is a constant companion and the sky’s vast expanse can be admired at every turn. Thus, a cabriolet rental, with its open-top design, becomes an enticing option. It’s a perfect way to bask in the island’s beauty while making your way to its most celebrated event – the Carnival.
The Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife is said to be the second most popular and internationally known carnival, after the one held in Rio de Janeiro. The Carnival’s roots can be traced back to the late 18th century, and it has been declared a Festival of International Tourist Interest. For over a week, the city of Santa Cruz de Tenerife is transformed into a sea of colors, music, and unstoppable festivities.
From the moment the carnival begins, the air is filled with a palpable energy. The island pulses with the rhythm of Latin music, with a mix of salsa, merengue, and reggaeton, among other genres, providing a constant, lively soundtrack to the celebration. The streets of Santa Cruz are alive with parades showcasing extravagant floats, dancers in colorful costumes, and the infectious joy of the participants and spectators alike.
One of the main attractions of the Carnival is the ‘Queen Election’, a grand event where the Carnival Queen is chosen. This event is a magnificent spectacle, with the participants donning elaborate costumes that can weigh up to 100 kilos and often take many months to create. These costumes are a feast for the eyes, with their intricate designs, dazzling sparkles, and vibrant colors. The Queen Election is not just a competition, but an art form and an embodiment of the spirit of the carnival.
But the festivities are not limited to the parades and the Queen Election. The Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife is a celebration that everyone is invited to participate in. The ‘Daytime Carnivals’, usually held on the weekends, are family-friendly events where children and adults can enjoy a range of activities and performances. The ‘Coso’ or the Main Parade is another event not to be missed. It’s a grand procession where the Queen of the Carnival, her maids, and numerous groups parade.
The climax of the carnival is the ‘Burial of the Sardine’, an event that signifies the end of the festivities. A giant sardine made of paper mache is paraded around the city and then set on fire in a grand, symbolic funeral. This event is accompanied by much revelry, with men dressed as grieving widows wailing dramatically, adding a touch of humor and irreverence to the ceremony.
The Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife is more than just a festival. It’s a celebrationof life, culture, and creativity. It’s a spectacle where the routine gives way to the extraordinary, where every street corner bursts into a dance, and every face lights up with joy.
Amidst all the revelry, one cannot ignore the profound sense of community the carnival fosters. The meticulous preparation that goes into the carnival, from the crafting of the costumes and floats to the rehearsals for the dances and parades, is a testament to the islanders’ dedication and love for this tradition. Every sequin sewn, every note played, every step danced, is a part of the collective effort that makes the carnival a grand success year after year.
The Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife is a window into the rich cultural tapestry of the Canary Islands. It showcases the island’s unique blend of Spanish, African, and indigenous Guanche influences. The carnival, with its extravagant costumes and energetic dances, pays homage to this rich cultural heritage while also incorporating modern elements, creating a mesmerizing fusion of the old and the new.
And as the sun sets on the island, the carnival illuminates the night. The city, under the cover of darkness, sparkles with lights, laughter, and life. The music echoes through the streets, inviting everyone to join the celebration. The rhythm is infectious, and soon, you find yourself swaying to the beat, becoming a part of this vibrant tableau.
As the final spark of the burning sardine fades, and the music slowly ebbs away, a sense of contentment settles in. The carnival may have ended, but the memories of the celebration, the laughter, the colors, the music, linger on. And as you drive away in your cabriolet under the starlit sky, the spirit of the carnival accompanies you, a reminder of the joyous celebration of life that is the Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife.
Whether you’re a carnival enthusiast, a culture lover, or simply someone looking for a unique, vibrant experience, the Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife is an event that should be on your bucket list. It’s a celebration that transcends borders and languages, inviting everyone to partake in its joyous festivities. So come, immerse yourself in the colors, the music, the dance, and experience the magical spectacle that is the Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife.