carnival on the canary islands - sunny carnival

When it comes to carnival there are only two types of persons: those who love it and those who prefer to spend the fifth season rather far away from it. It is not without reason that many like to travel to the mountains or even further south during the carnival season to enjoy the snow or soak up the sun in February.

But it’s not just in Germany that carnival is celebrated extensively. On the Canary Islands, too, elaborate costumes are sewn and the sun shines brightly at galas and large street parades. But the Canary Islands are the perfect place for everyone: those who don’t like carnival and real fans alike! And we’ll show you why that is today!

Carnival on the Canary Islands

karneval auf den kanaren - karnevalsumzug im rheinland

Carnival in Germany

On 11 November, the carnival revelers in Germany traditionally start the fifth season at 11:11 a.m., taking over the scepter in many cities. And even if the non-carnivalists probably don’t realize it, the first carnival meetings are already taking place and the everyone is busy making and sewing their costumes, masks and floats for the street carnival.
karneval in deutschland - karnevalsmasken

The big street carnival kicks off from Old Wives’ Eve. Parades take place in the squares and streets of many towns and cities, ties are cut off and festive music can be heard everywhere. With lots of imagination, music and dancing, people defy the wind and weather and celebrate exuberantly. The biggest parades in Germany take place in the Rhineland: In Cologne and Düsseldorf, millions of people gather on the streets of the cities to marvel at the carnival parade, catch caramels and celebrate. By Ash Wednesday at the latest, however, it’s all over: the Hoppeditz is laid to rest and Lent begins.

Carnival on the Canary Islands – Gran Canaria & Teneriffe

Also on the Canary Island the Carnival is celebrated extensively. Especially the carnival on Gran Canaria and Teneriffa enjoy worldwide fame. To the sounds of Samba big parades parade through the streets of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and Santa Cruz de Teneriffe. Many a spectator feels transported to South America, as the costumes and dancing skills are very similar to those of the dancers at the famous carnival in Rio. This is no coincidence, as the inhabitants of the Canary Islands have long had a close relationship with South and Central America through their seafaring heritage and have also been included the south American traditions to their own carnival. Besides the great parades the Gala of the carnival queens, is a highlight of the Canarian Carnival. Elaborate costumes are presented and finally the carnival queens are elected. These costumes are true works of art and can take on incredible proportions. The dresses are sometimes 3 metres high and weigh almost 400kg. It is no wonder that most of these dresses run on castors…

On La Palma, on the other hand, a completely different kind of carnival, the Fiesta de los Indios, takes place on Rose Monday. This tradition is probably a parody of the returnees from the colonies who returned to the Canary Islands after many years in Cuba. These returnees flaunted their wealth and tried to cover their sun-tanned skin with powder. So now the carnival revellers on La Palma parade through the streets of Santa Cruz de La Palma dressed in fancy white clothes, throwing white powder at each other to the sound of Cuban music.

Ash Wednesday also marks the end of carnival in the Canary Islands with the “Entierro de la Sardina”, the burial of the sardine. A carnival parade “disguised” as a funeral procession makes its way through the streets towards the beach, where a sardine made of papier-mâché is symbolically burnt to mark the end of the exuberant festivities.

Carnival on the Canary Islands – Fuerteventura

Fuerteventura also hosts celebrations during the carnival season, even if they look very different to those on the neighbouring islands. Although there are also queen galas in the villages and towns here, the main protagonists of the local carnival are so-called arretrancos and achipencos! In the capital Puerto del Rosario, celebrations take place on land and water that are most comparable to German soapbox and bathtub race races.

Fun races and regattas are organized in Puerto de Rosario with the arretrancos and achipencos, imaginative handmade vehicles and boats or rafts. And in the evenings during these days, you will meet people dressed up in costumes in many clubs and bars.

karneval auf den kanaren - spaß im surfkurs

Carnival on the Canary Islands – Surf holidays on Fuerteventura

Even though carnival is celebrated extensively on the Canary Islands, carnival on Fuerteventura is unique but low-key. So, if you’ve always wanted to party in carnival costume in warm temperatures, but otherwise like to spend your days on the beach and in or on the waves, this is the place for you.

karneval auf den kanaren - entspannte stimmung am strand

Especially here in the north of the island, the 5th season is hardly noticeable. Fuerteventura is therefore a more suitable destination for those who don’t like carnival to avoid the huge processions and parades during the carnival holidays. Those who are already dragging their feet from November and can’t make up their minds from all the costume ideas will find colourful parades and great celebrations that go on well into the night, especially on Tenerife and Gran Canaria.

carnival brings out the child in everyone!