Friday, February 27, 2009

Piñata Weekend in Santa Cruz de Tenerife

The Piñata provides the finale to the party

Shrove Tuesday might have been the end of carnival frivolities in the strictly religious sense, but Carnival in Santa Cruz de Tenerife isn't over yet ... by a long way as the party is still going strong this weekend as the Piñata provides a fitting finale to the festivities.

Sábado de Piñata - Carnaval de día

Sábado de Piñata (Saturday), in Santa Cruz the most important Carnaval de Día (Daytime Carnaval) in the world will be taking place. That might be because it's the only designated daytime carnival in the world - we haven't checked - but nevertheless an afternoon full of spectacular shows can be expected in the Plazas del Príncipe, La Candelaria, Europa and Weyler. The biggest act English speakers will recognize is Craig David. As a finale at around 4 p.m., there'll be the biggest exhibition of sound fireworks ever to have taken place on the islands. This noisy celebration that was baptised "gran traca" when it appeared for the first time in Tenerife last year, is like the mascletas (bang fests) of Valencia.

Coso Infantil - Children's Carnaval Parade

Although the live music and fireworks extravaganza of daytime Carnaval is what's being promoted most about the final weekend of carnival in Santa Cruz these days, there are other, events taking place. One I highly recommend is the Coso Infantil - Children's Carnaval Parade - from 6 p.m. on Saturday, February 28th. It's like the big parade, but with added cuteness and is ideal to take the kids or grandkids along to too. The route is Calle Numancia, Pilar, Villalba Hervás to the Plaza de La Candelaria.

Concurso de coches antiguos - Classic Cars

On Sunday morning, is the XXXVIII Gran Concurso en la Ciudad de Automóviles Antiguos (I make that the 38th edition of this gathering of Classic Cars), which meets at the Parque García Sanabria (see map) at 10 a.m. Then at mid-day, the cars will make a circuit of the city, passing through the streets of Numancia, Pilar, Plaza del Príncipe, Villalba Hervás, La Marina, Avenidas de Anaga and Marítima, ending in the car park of the Club Náutico de Tenerife (see map).

Friday, February 20, 2009

Carnaval in Puerto de la Cruz 2009 Revised

Puerto de la Cruz carnival parade 2008

Puerto de la Cruz Carnaval suffered an early change to the published program yesterday, when their Gala for the selection of the Carnaval Queen, usually held on the Thursday night, had to be postponed due to bad weather. The Gala should now be taking place tonight, Friday, February 20th, but I guess that again, it depends on the rain.

The revised 2009 program (the main events anyway) is as follows:
  • Friday, 20th February: Gala for the Election of the 2009 Carnival Queen
  • Saturday, 21st February: Proclamatory Parade
  • Wednesday, 25th February: Funeral of the Sardine
  • Friday, 27th February: Men's Marathon in High Heels
  • Saturday, 28th February: Coso - Main Parade (4 pm)
In addition to those, starting from tonight, each and every night until Saturday, February 28th, inclusive (except Thursday), there's a Gran Baile (dance) in the Plaza del Charco, Calle La Marina and Calle Perdomo, from 10 p.m. onwards.

We managed to see some of the Carnival Parade in Puerto de la Cruz last year and the weather was doing funny stuff then too. For future planning, the dates of Carnaval in Puerto de la Cruz are one of the very rare examples in Tenerife that - barring disturbances for the weather and other things beyond the control of mere mortals - follows a regular and predictable pattern. Normally kicking off on the Thursday before Shrove Tuesday, the Burial of the Sardine is on the correct day, Ash Wednesday and Carnival celebrations come to a climax with the main parade on the Saturday after Shrove Tuesday.

However, Andrea Montgomery says that the high heels drag obstacle race is rapidly becoming the favourite Carnaval event in Puerto and is always worth seeing.

Los Cristianos (Arona) Carnival: Much more moving target than movable feast?

Fantasy moving target that exists for real in Arona

Easter, Lent and thus the dates of carnival that precedes it, are movable feasts on the Christian Liturgical calendar. In Arona, this tips over into the realms of moving target and even fantasma. I'd dearly wanted to come up with a "magic formula" for calculating the dates of carnival in Los Cristianos (as I've done successfully with the other big carnivals on the island) - after all the occasional tourist might drop into the area (~ 3 million a year) and one or two of them might actually enjoy going to see its annual carnival.

More would, I'm sure (given the demand for information and visits to posts about Los Cristianos Carnival), but for that to happen, a bit of advance notice would be handy, you know, because people tend to need to give employers notice to book time off from their jobs; need to book their flights, hotels or holidays, months in advance ...

And failing some advance publicity (and we don't mean just posters inside the town, "preaching to the choir"), maybe stick to a regular schedule? Maybe?

Nah, frustratingly, Arona has never heard of these alien concepts.

After translating the program, I thought I'd go through the archives to see if a pattern would emerge that would allow us to say "take the date of XYZ and add XX days ..." to arrive at a method to predict when these fiestas would take place each year, but it doesn't work.

Taking the dates of Shrove Tuesday (the most reliable point in the carnival calendar) and the dates of the main parade of Los Cristianos Carnival (the event that is probably of most interest to visitors) over the last few years - those I could find online - plus the date listed in this year's program, I plotted how many days there were between the two dates.

In the past, the Los Cristianos carnaval main parade had taken place 12 days after Shrove Tuesday, i.e. the second Sunday after "Pancake Day" for those who've forgotten what Shrove is about elsewhere. And then they go and muck things up, by making it a week later, with the main parade 19 days after Shrove Tuesday instead.

Unfortunately, it has since been known to be moved forward by two weeks and more.

Add to this that new events are being added to their schedule every year and, that some of the events that used to take place mid-week have since been moved to weekends and thus the length of the carnival is longer than it used to be, it just isn't possible to predict.

The Gran Coso Apoteósico del Carnaval (The Main Parade) still happens on the final Sunday from around 4 - 5 pm in the afternoon and the very last carnival event tends to be the next day, on the Monday night: the Burial of the Sardine, followed by the Widow's Ball. But you still need to know when it's all beginning, let alone when it ends.

We try to update each year, but are very aware that by the time we know, it's almost always too late to plan, unless you take a chance on last minute availability.

Better yet, write to Arona town hall (in English) and gently suggest that they "get with the program" so that you, as a visitor (after all, you are supposed to be important to them) can get some information in good time, or at least count on a regular enough schedule to be able to plan and book your holidays in advance to enjoy their carnival (and bring money into their municipality). No, seriously, we don't need to rant and whine at them (though it's tempting), but the more people who point out the deficiencies, the sooner the penny will drop that a bit of simple information can positively impact on tourist numbers.

Image by Stefan Keller from Pixabay

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Carnaval Queen in Santa Cruz de Tenerife 2009

Carnival Queen in Santa Cruz de Tenerife 2009 Ana María Tavárez Mata

The United States has its first black President and Santa Cruz de Tenerife, has elected its first black Carnaval Queen. Eighteen year old Ana María Tavárez Mata, representing newspaper El Día, with a costume entitled Embrujada (Bewitched) designed by Leo Martínez, was chosen from among 18 candidates in last nights gala.

Coronación Reina del Carnaval de S/C de Tenerife 2009

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Program for Los Cristianos Carnaval 2009

Los Cristianos Carnival 2008

Hallelujah! In the nick of time, with just a few days to go, finally, we can give you details of the program of events for the Los Cristianos Carnaval 2009. Frankly, it's absolutely sinful that a carnival anywhere, but especially one with such huge tourist potential as in Los Cristianos is kept so "secret" until the very last minute, but here goes:

  • Friday, March 6th, 2009. 20:00 hours. Events kick off with the Presentation of the Candidates for the Carnaval Queen at Los Cristianos Cultural Center.
  • Saturday, March 7th, 2009. 19:00 hours. Cabalgata Anunciadora (Opening Parade) along the Avenida Rafael Puig in Playa de las Américas, from the Avenida Francisco Andrade Fumero (near the entrance of the Hotel Conquistador) to the  C.C. Gala Shopping Center. It terminates with a "gran batucada" (incessant drumming) from all participating groups.
  • Thursday, March 12th, 2009. 20:30 hours. Gala election of the Junior Carnaval Queen in the Fair's Enclosure (in front of the Valdés Center.)
  • Friday, March 13th, 2009. 18:30 hours. Carnival Ball for the Senior Citizens in the Los Cristianos Cultural Center. 21:00 hours. Grand Gala election of the Carnaval Queen in the Fair's Enclosure (in front of the Valdés Center.)
  • Saturday, March 14th, 2009. 19:00 hours. Carnaval Parade around various areas of Los Cristianos. 23:00 hours. Carnaval Ball with the orchestra, Sensación Gomera in the Fair's Enclosure (in front of the Valdés Center.)
  • Sunday, March 15th, 2009. 17:00 hours. Gran Coso Apoteósico del Carnaval (The Main Parade of Carnival), with a parade of all the carnival groups, Queens, etc., from Aptos. Paloma Beach, via the Avenida Juan Carlos I, to terminate in the Fair's Enclosure (in front of the Valdés Center.) At the end of the parade: Carnival Dance with Orchestra Wamampy in the Fair's Enclosure.
  • Monday, March 16th, 2009. 20:00 hours. Burial of the Sardine parade, leaving from the Los Cristianos Cultural Center, to the Los Cristianos beach. This is usually followed by the Widow's Ball in the Fair's Enclosure (in front of the Valdés Center.)

In addition there's the fun fair, fireworks, stalls and street food to be enjoyed, so while carnival is on you can just go for an evening stroll among the stalls and funfair.

NB: Please do not trust the plethora of sites I keep coming across who insist that a carnival cabalgata is "a parade with horses," because they've obviously never seen one. They probably haven't even been to Tenerife.