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The 2020 Tenerife Carnival; dates for the island’s biggest party

Have you chosen your costume? The 2020 Tenerife Carnival is just around the corner and, as always, is going to be full of great moments. If you’re in a hurry or don’t know the dates, don’t worry. Here are the key events and our recommendations for your calendar…

The start of the street carnival

Carnival Queen Tenerife

Although carnival lasts for almost the whole of February, the street carnival kicks-off with the Queen’s Election Gala. It is on Wednesday, February 19 and is when the 2020 Carnival Queen gets chosen. 2019’s Queen, Priscila Medina Quintero, remembers it as “an unforgettable night, something I will always remember and if I could, I would repeat again”.

Hardly surprising, as the Carnival Queen leads the Announcement Parade, the first major street event which, this year, is on Friday, February 21 at 8:00 p.m. Decorated floats and cars parade along the streets, watched by crowds waiting to see the new Queen and her Bridesmaids.

Comparsa Tenerife Carnival

The next day, on February 22, carnival returns to the street for the Comparsas Rhythm and Harmony contest. The troupe’s batucada drumming and colourful costumes fill Francisco la Roche Avenue with noise and fun. Last year’s winners, “Los Joroperos” along with director Fernando Hernández, received the prize thanks to their “work of many years, sacrifices and discipline, but also, great enthusiasm”.

The first carnival weekend closes with the Day Carnival which begins at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, February 23. It is a good opportunity for families and other people who want to celebrate during the day, and lasts well  into the afternoon.

The great week of Carnival

The main carnival week starts on Monday, February 24 with an intense street party where everyone dresses up, dances and enjoys themselves late into the night.

Tenerife Carnival in the streets

The next day, Tuesday, February 26, the Coso Apoteosis of the Carnival is the high point of the festivities with a huge parade where everyone participates: Murgas, Queens, Comparsas, carnival troupes … All come together at one of the most anticipated and attended events of the whole carnival. It starts at 4:00 p.m. on Francisco La Roche and Maritima Avenues.

The end of the Carnival

El Burial of the Sardine on Wednesday, February 26 is one of the most comical moments, with widows and mourners attending the symbolic burial of “Don Carnal”. It is the final event of the official carnival holiday season.

However, the icing on the cake is that the street party isn’t quite over yet. There’s a Day Carnival on Saturday, February 29 and a final hurrah on Sunday March 1st with the Grand Carnival Party End 2020.

Have you got the important dates in the diary? Then put on your costume and come and join in at the year’s biggest party.

Carnival in Tenerife 2019 – the most important dates

The Carnival of Tenerife 2019 is here and with it the big parties, lots of fun and great costumes. You still do not know which are the most important events? It would be great having the different carnival programmes of the municipalities to plan your carnival on the island… No problem, here is a brief summary of the main celebrations, so you do not miss anything.

Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife 2019

The most famous carnival of all is celebrated in the capital and marks the start of the season for the whole island. We have to divide the carnival into two areas: the contests and the street carnival.

Carnaval de Tenerife 2019 Santa Cruz

Contests and Gala elections of the Carnival of Tenerife

The competitions are characterised by the fact that the best groups, costumes and dances of the carnival come together and compete in great contests against each other. The carnival groups such as murgas, comparsas and rondallas are well known, but the prelude to the carnival on the street, is always the Gala of the Carnival Queen, which is celebrated on February 27th this year.

After the election of the Carnival Queen, the street parties officially begin with the opening parade on Friday, March 1st. The next day, on Saturday, March 2nd, the comparsas will be having a great night out at the “Rhythm and Harmony” parade, one of the most rhythmic and colourful events.

Carnaval de Tenerife 2019 Carnaval en la Calle

Carnival on the street

There is something for everyone at the street carnival, for the little ones and for adults, whether during the day or at night. The carnival of the day is celebrated on March 3rd and 9th, while the carnival at night takes place the whole week with various concerts and events such as the burial of the sardine. Below you have a summary image with all the highlights and the carnival programme of Tenerife.

Programa Carnaval de Tenerife 2019

International Carnival of Puerto de la Cruz 2019

Carnaval Puerto de la Cruz 2019 Mascarita Ponte Tacón

In Puerto de la Cruz there is also a carnival and the men’s marathon “Mascarita Ponte Tacón” is the absolute highlight. In this crazy race men wear extravagant costumes and gigantic heels, which must be at least 8 centimetres high. The marathon will be held on Friday, March 8th, starting at 8:00 pm.

Carnival of Los Gigantes 2019

Carnaval de Los Gigantes 2019

The whole Olympus will come to the carnival in Los Gigantes, Santiago del Teide, because the festivities are dedicated to Greek deities this year. From March 15th to 23rd (next to the carnival in Los Cristianos) different celebrations take place and make this carnival one of the most important events in the south of the island.

Carnival of Los Cristianos 2019

Carnaval de Los Cristianos 2019

The jungle is the topic chosen this year by the International Carnival of Los Cristianos, which is the last to be held from March 21st to April 1st. The most important dates of this carnival are the opening parade on Saturday, March 23rd, the Queen’s Gala election on Thursday, March 28th, the Drag Queen Gala on Friday, March 29th, the carnival of the day on March 30th, and the Apotheosis parade on March 31st, ending with the burial of the sardine on April 1st.

Carnival of Candelaria 2019

Carnaval de Candelaria 2019

This year the carnival of Candelaria will be celebrated from March 9th to the 23rd. The programme includes the Queen’s Gala election on March 15th, the choreographic festival and carnival on March 17th, the Drag Queen Gala on March 22nd and the dance of the carnival on March 23rd.

Carnival of Los Silos 2019

Carnaval de Los Silos 2019

The historic town of Los Silos is also celebrating its carnival in March, from the 4th to the 10th. One of the funniest events is the crazy car race on Saturday, March 9th.

Piñata Chica de Tacoronte 2019

Carnaval de Tacoronte 2019

The Piñata Chica, the carnival in the municipality of Tacoronte from March 15th to 18th, are festivities where especially the little ones can celebrate big. Particularly noteworthy is the traditional show of classic cars on March 17th.

With so many carnival possibilities, you will definitely enjoy our tradition! Do not forget to check our event calendar for more events and more news on the island.

The history of Carnival in Tenerife

We are still in carnival mood, because some municipalities of Tenerife are still celebrating carnival. Colours and rhythms flood the streets. Everybody is invited to participate in the big show. But how did it start with the carnival in Tenerife? Do you know the origins of this popular event?

Origins of the carnival

There is no consensus on the origin of the term “carnival”. Some experts consider that it comes from the medieval Latin “carnelevarium”, which means “to remove the meat“. This refers to Lent, when consumption of meat is forbidden. Other studies, however, point to a more mythological origin on the “Carrus Navalis” (pronounced Car Navalis), which has a religious background.

In any case, it is true that the carnival has survived attempts at censorship and oppression throughout history.

History of Carnival in Tenerife

The carnival found its way to the islands through the European culture of the Spaniards in the 16th century. According to historians, the carnival was already so popular that the wealthy classes of the island celebrated it with dances and parties in the cities.

During the 19th century the carnival began to evolve. In addition to dance and party, various exhibitions, competitions and costumes were added. At that time, the use of masks began to spread. Women of the high society used them to mingle with folk festivals without being recognised.

Popularity of the carnival

The carnival became, little by little, an increasingly attractive party, not only for the locals, but also for the tourists that began to arrive during the 20th century.

In 1925, Tenerife’s first carnival programme was launched by the City Council of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, which from then on was responsible for organising the event. We can say that this was the actual birth of the so-called “Murgas, Comparsas, Rondallas” and various carnival groups that designed ever more complex and elaborate costumes.

During the dictatorship of Franco, attempts were made to suppress these associations. Finally in 1961 they accepted the carnival under the beautifying name “Winterfest”. In 1967 it receives the award “Celebration of National Tourist Interest” and in 1980, once again with the name “Carnival”, it received the recognition “Festival of International Tourist Interest”.

You will not come to Tenerife during carnival? No problem, then visit the House of the Carnival in Santa Cruz de Tenerife. An exhibition where you can admire the lavish costumes all year round, including those of the Carnival Queens, and learn all about history.

Carnival in Tenerife

It is the event to which everyone is invited. Friends and families spend weeks or even months designing their original outfits.

Thousands of tourists flock to the capital to see the Carnival Queen and her entourage on the parades… The big parade “Coso Apoteosis 2018” brought 7,000 tourists and journalists from countries such as Russia, Finland, Poland or Denmark to Tenerife.

When the carnival comes to an end, the costumes and the drums are returned to their place; but not for a long time, because the next carnival is coming soon.

Highlights of the Carnival of Santa Cruz 2018 and definition of terms

During the Carnival week in Santa Cruz you will hear some terms that we will explain to you today:

The “Comparsas”

These are the musical carnival groups that bring colour, joy and rhythm to the carnival with exuberant costumes and sonorous drums. Their competition took place behind closed doors on February 3rd, and they took to the streets on February 10th to show their choreography and great dresses at the “Rhythm and Harmony” parade on Francisco La Roche Avenue. You can also admire them at other carnival events and especially during the apotheosis parade.

The “Entierro de la Sardina”

One of the funniest nights is the funeral of the sardine. Here people disguise as widows and say good bye with sorrow and tears to the carnival. On Ash Wednesday, February 14th, at 10 pm the funeral parade begins, ending with the symbolic burial of the sardine.

„Apotheosis“ Parade

Carnival Tuesday is one of the most important days, as the parade with the “Comparsas” and the Carnival Queens draws through the streets of Santa Cruz. This year it will be on February 13th at 4:00 pm.

The “Rondallas”

The “Rondallas” are music groups and the first representatives of the Santa Cruz Carnival. Their performances are characterised by vocal technique and sarcastic interpretation of current political and cultural topics. The competition took place on February 4th and on February 11th and 12ththey we went to the streets and squares, where various performances took place.

“Piñata” Sunday

Sunday, the February 18th, is the last carnival day in Santa Cruz and will be celebrated more quietly after the parade on Saturday. In the morning classic cars drive through the city, while the farewell takes place at 9 pm with a big fireworks display.

We wish you a lot of fun at the Carnival 2018 in the capital of Tenerife!

Carnival 2018 in Tenerife

Drums sound nearby, the rhythm takes over you and the streets fill with colours, people gather, laugh and have fun with a multitude of colorful costumes… No doubt! This is the carnival in Tenerife!

Carnival of Tenerife 2018

The first city to start the celebrations is Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Thousands of people come together to live one of the biggest festivals of the year. Fantasy is the theme of this year’s carnival – so fairies, goblins and wizards are the stars of 2018.

The carnival poster titled “The Guardian of the Scepter”, painted by Nareme Mahugo Melian, pays homage to another historical painter of carnival posters, Juan Galarza.

Carnival programme of Tenerife 2018

Here you’ll find the carnival programme and we explain briefly what you shouldn’t miss at the carnival in Santa Cruz:

The so-called “murgas” (carnival groups) have already been elected these days, as well as the carnival queens, both children and seniors. These events were held in the city’s exhibition centre (with tickets only). The carnival on the streets always takes place after the election of the Carnival Queen.

On Friday, February 9th, the carnival’s opening parade will begin with the amazing costumes of the Queens, their entourage and the carnival clubs that roam the city’s main streets.

Carnival at night 2018

On the same Friday, the Carnival Nights, which take place until Saturday, the 17th (with the exception of Thursday, the 15th). There will be different stages with live acts at the squares Plaza de la Candelaria, Plaza Principe and Avenida Francisco La Roche.

Sebastian Yatra is one of the favoured singers at this year’s “Night Carnival”. He will perform his Latin rhythms on Monday,February 12th at 01:50 a.m. at the Plaza de la Candelaria. After that it stays rhythmic until the morning with Edwin Rivera and the salsa-orchestra Sabrosa.

Carnival at day 2018

The Day Carnival will take place on February 11th and 17th. On Saturday, February 17th, there will be various musical performances by famous artists such as Olga Tañon, Juan Magan and Gente de Zona at the Avenida Francisco La Roche, from 4:00 to 10:00 p.m.