Cologne? Venice? Aalst? All wrong. The largest and most spectacular Carnival of Europe takes place in Santa Cruz, the capital of Tenerife. We already knew that islanders have their own particularities. But experience the carnival in Tenerife: you won’t believe your eyes.
La Vida es un Carnaval
In 1987 the Carnival of Santa Cruz made it to the Guinness Book of Records. No less than 250,000 spectators – a quarter of a million people – went crazy to the sultry rhythms and music. 250,000 revellers sang along to La vida es un Carnaval. Never before had an open air music performance gathered so many people.
How can it be otherwise? Every year, hundreds of thousands come to celebrate the carnival on the largest island of the Canary Islands. The only place where the party gets more exuberant is the Brazilian sister city Rio de Janeiro. Every year the party is broadcast live on several Spanish TV channels and the 20,000 tickets for the election of the ‘Queen of the carnival’ for example get sold out in less than an hour.
Each Year a Different Theme
The festival has existed for a long time. Fancy dress parties have been organised on the eve of the fasting period ever since the first Spaniards set foot on Tenerife, at the end of the 15th century. During the Franco regime, Tenerife was the only place in Spain where the carnival was still celebrated, then nicknamed the ‘winter festivities’.
Every year since 1987, the ten-day festival has had a central theme. Amongst the central topics of the previous years are Flower Power, Bollywood, Horror films and Magic. This year’s theme is ‘Caribbean’. Our guess is that you will probably bump into Jack Sparrow of Pirates of the Caribbean, Usain Bolt or Bob Marley.