The Tenerife Carnival, held in the capital city of the largest of the Canary Islands, is a colorful street festival with plenty of costumes, music, and local culture. It may not be the largest of the world’s carniva lcelebrations, but it is regarded as the second most-popular after the carnival in Rio de Janeiro. Due in part to its great size, it is one of the world’s most renowned carnival celebrations, and partly because of this, the city of Santa Cruz de Tenerife is in fact a sister city of Rio de Janeiro.
While various carnival celebrations are held throughout the Canary Islands, it is the Tenerife carnival that draws the most visitors and has the deepest history. These celebrations have been held over the course of centuries, and traditions include such things as burying sardines, dancing, and cross-dressing. The week leading up to Ash Wednesday is when the festival really begins, and among the highlights are the election of the carnival queen, a horse parade, and plenty of general partying in the streets.
The Queen of the Carnival is elected on the Wednesday before the festivities start, and the Announcement Parade is held on the Friday before Ash Wednesday, marking the official start of the 2021 carnival in Tenerife. Saturday is devoted entirely to dance, with stages built around the city and plenty of Latin music. Monday is the day of feasting, and Tuesday has the grand finale prior Ash Wednesday, when the streets of the city are draped in mourning colors and the burial of a giant sardine effigy marks the end of the festivities, though a closing carnival processions is held on the following weekend.
From the dance competitions to the singing contests, competitive floats, and musical games, the Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife brings an incredibly lively air to the city. Any number of words could be used to describe the event: mad, merry, colorful, spectacular, and the list goes on. Spain knows how to put on a good festival, and the Tenerife Carnival experience is certainly something that travelers won’t soon forget.