The Fabulous Santa Cruz Carnival
February is one of the greatest times to be in Tenerife because it is 'street party' time! Every year this gorgeous island in the sun offers visitors the chance to really get into the swing by joining in the spectacular and impressive carnival as it dances it's way around the plazas and streets.
This tremendous carnival spirit dates back centuries to when the conquistadores arrived on these shores. Being devout Catholics they religiously followed Lent, which meant that all meat and dairy products they had available had to be eaten up before the fasting began. Under the rule of Franco, the carnival became a something that was frowned upon and the Church considered it as blasphemous. But people were not put off and still continued with their traditional carnival, only they started wearing hoods and masks as well as other disguises, so they would not be recognised. Many women dressing up as men and vice versa.
Of course today, although the tradition of Lent still applies, the carnival is really just a wonderful excuse to have an amazing street party that rivals the one in Rio. Men and women still cross dress – but now this is for fun!
Every year the carnival is held in the capital of Santa Cruz, however there is another one held in the north of the island in the coastal town of Puerto de la Cruz. It is almost just as big and loads of fun to take part in as well as be a wide eyed spectator. Thousands of people flock to the island just before and during the carnival begins, and it lasts a fortnight.
During all this time the party goes on with parades and dancing in the streets. Wonderful costumes and scantily clad ladies prance their steps entertaining all the people who line the streets to watch them. The beat of the Latino drums is something that gets everyone moving as they witness the crowned Carnival Queens sitting on top of the highly decorated floats lazily pass by. The culmination of these celebrations involves the ceremonial burial of 'The Sardine' which is a sight to behold just in itself.
This carnival really brings an already vibrant island alive in a way like no other, except of course the carnival in Brazil. It is a time for street parties every night for the duration of the event, so from midnight to daybreak, thousands of revellers are out in the streets wearing fancy dress, dancing and drinking until the sun appears on the horizon.