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Friday, February 27, 2009

Tenerife Carnaval: Piñata Weekend

Shrove Tuesday might have been the "end" of carnival in the strictly religious sense, but Tenerife Carnaval isn't over yet ... by a long way as the party is still going strong this weekend in both Santa Cruz and Puerto de la Cruz.

2253963995_913143c846 Mascarita, Ponte Tacón

Tonight from 8.30 p.m. in the Plaza del Charco in Puerto de la Cruz, the now infamous Mascarita Ponte el Tacón or Men's Marathon in High Heels camera  (more photos here) is taking place, which we're told has now reached it's 15th annual edition. Some 200 fools in unconvincing drag will attempt to get their leg over obstacles in high heels camera  (this image will help you visualize the spectacle), as the public looks on bemused mostly, I imagine. There are prizes too - not unlike in Canine Agility Championships - for the fastest, the most tenacious and so on ...

The main parade of Carnaval in Puerto de la Cruz camera (see photos from 2008) takes place on Saturday, February 28th, starting at 4 p.m. (ish.)

cartelcarnavaldia 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, according to Radiotelevisión Canaria.

It 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 (see program) 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

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, more traditional, 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 just like the big parade, but with  added CuteOverload. Well, I mean, camera just look at these little elephants! Could you resist hundreds of small people dressed like this? Of course not! The route is Calle Numancia, Pilar, Villalba Hervás to the Plaza de La Candelaria.


Concurso de coches antiguos

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 leave from the Parque García Sanabria to 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).

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Activities for Carnaval Tuesday in Tenerife

Costume Mask, Tenerife, Canary Islands, SpainCarnaval Tuesday, the big day in Santa Cruz and the weather was relatively kind for the Coso Apoteosis - the Main Parade - which took place in the afternoon under a dull, but thankfully dry sky, given that a pre-alert is in place for possible rain throughout the Canary Islands.

If you've missed it, the Main Carnaval Parade will take place in Santa Cruz on Tuesday, February 16th, 2010.

In La Orotava, in the morning, the XXXVII (I make that 37th) Rally of Classic Cars took place, which later went on display in Puerto de la Cruz.

Meanwhile, at 9.30 p.m. in Puerto de la Cruz, there's the Gala Trans-gresora 2009, which has nothing to do with transgressions and everything to do with cross-dressing. Mind you, I thought Carnaval was ALL about cross-dressing.

And as Tenerife Matters say here, "Expect a lot of fun, a lot of bitchin and a soundtrack which will probably include 'It's Raining Men', 'I Will Survive' and 'I Am What I Am'." (Or Yo Viviré, which is 'I Will Survive', in Spanish, sung by Celia Cruz and I'll just mention it because it's better than the original. :)

Monday, February 23, 2009

Carnaval Monday capers in Tenerife

Telling you what's going down on Carnaval Monday in Tenerife province - i.e. today - can surely only serve one purpose - to whet your appetite for future years - unless you're already on the islands and at a loss for something to do, in which case, you might like to consider any of the following ...

3499416_lDía de los Indianos in La Palma

Hop over to the island of La Palma and rub shoulders with folk who travel all the way from South America to join this celebration, the biggest day of the Carnaval in Santa Cruz de La Palma - held every year on Carnaval Monday, i.e. the day before Shrove Tuesday - the Día de los Indianos.

Which as Sheila in La Palma explains, celebrates the return of Palmerans who had left the island in search of a better life in the Caribbean and, later returned from Cuba (hence the typical style of white clothing), stinking rich. And, she says, "If you dress up and join the parade, the town hall will provide talc."

Isla de La Palma Guide also have details on the celebrations here, there are more Indianos camera8 here, here and here and the fact that AFP/Getty Images have several here, here, here and here, gives you some idea of the importance.

If you can't make it this year, don the clothes you bought for the last White Party, put on some Cuban music, fix yourself a mojito - maybe just the latter would do!

In a previous post here we showed you the official promotional video for the fiesta, as well as the recipe for the authentic mojito, direct from the cocktail's birthplace, the La Bodeguita del Medio in Havana, Cuba.


Dance Carnaval Santa Cruz

Meanwhile, tonight in Santa Cruz de Tenerife - in the Plaza de La Candelaria from 9 p.m. - is the FREE, seven hour long open-air disco spectacular, Dance Carnaval Santa Cruz, with, Real el Canario (pictured), along with four iconic US acts; DJ Craze, Ron Carroll, Armand Van Helden and Roger Sánchez.

cabalgata2009 Carnaval Parade in La Laguna

Meanwhile, if you're searching for a carnaval parade to watch and can't wait until tomorrow, La Laguna has brought back - after many years of absence - it's Carnaval Cavalcade, today, February 23rd, Carnaval Monday, around the historic centre of the town, starting from the church of La Concepción at 5 p.m.

Between midnight and 2 a.m. tonight, the Bulan Restaurante Chill-Out are giving away free beer.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Revised 2009 Carnaval schedule in Puerto de la Cruz

Coso Puerto de la Cruz 2008Puerto 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.

Coso Puerto de la Cruz 2008We managed to see some of the Coso, Carnaval Parade in Puerto de la Cruz last year and the weather was doing funny stuff then too. Andrea Montgomery writes about her and Jack's experiences at Carnaval in Puerto de la Cruz here.

For future planning purposes, 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 Carnaval 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. She also says that it's outrageously politically incorrect and, since correctness is so way out of hand, take that as a recommendation!

Los Cristianos 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

Santa Cruz de Tenerife Carnaval Queen 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


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. Here goes:

Friday, March 6th, 2009. 20:00 hours. Events kick off with the Presentation of the Candidates for the Carnaval Queen at map Los Cristianos Cultural Center.

Saturday, March 7th, 2009. 19:00 hours. Cabalgata Anunciadora (Opening Parade) along the map 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 map  Valdés Center.)

Friday, March 13th, 2009. 18:30 hours. Carnival Ball for the Senior Citizens in the map Los Cristianos Cultural Center. 21:00 hours. Grand Gala election of the Carnaval Queen in the Fair's Enclosure (in front of the map  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 map  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 map  Aptos. Paloma Beach, via the Avenida Juan Carlos I, to terminate in the Fair's Enclosure (in front of the map  Valdés Center.) At the end of the parade: Carnival Dance with Orchestra Wamampy in the Fair's Enclosure.

Michaela Sydney enjoys some of the yummy street food at Los Cristianos Carnival. Monday, March 16th, 2009. 20:00 hours. Burial of the Sardine parade, leaving from the map 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 map  Valdés Center.)

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

Slideshow of Los Cristianos Carnaval images | More Carnival photos

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".

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! Alright, maybe that's what the term cabalgata (cavalcade) meant in history and you might assume some link with the word caballería (cavalry) as soldiers who fought mounted on horseback, but in Tenerife carnival terms it just means a big parade, of people, floats ... Maybe the odd horse gets into the general melee, but not as a rule.

Photo: by baob555555

El Carnaval ya llego (Carnaval has arrived)

reina_carnaval This week, Carnaval arrives proper in Tenerife. Today, Wednesday, February 18th, 2009 sees the huge Gala de elección de la Reina del Carnaval de Santa Cruz de Tenerife 2009 (Gala for the selection of the Carnaval Queen) and her attendants, held at the Centro Internacional de Ferias y Congresos de Tenerife. Starting at 9.30 p.m. Canary time - same time as the UK, the (usually 3+ hour) gala is to be televised live by Televisión Canaria (RTVC), nationally, internationally and even by internet, as well as via accredited international media, including the Italian national network RAI.

ABC also tell us that a "Túnel del Terror" (needs no translation: carnaval's theme is horror movies) will create atmosphere for the gala. It is a dark passageway, 15 meters in length, to be installed on the terrace of the congress centre.

(If you have another 3 hrs, 5 mins to spare, you can already watch last Friday's gala in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria online at TVE's answer to the iPlayer.)

Before the 2009 Carnaval Queen is crowned, here's a last look at the winner in 2008, Nauzet Celeste Cruz Melo, in a costume depicting Queen Elizabeth I (of England) entitled, "La Edad de Oro" (The Golden Age) camera  Nauzet Celeste, reina del carnaval de Tenerife, Tenerife ya tiene a su reina del carnaval, Nauzet Celeste Cruz Melo es la nueva Reina del Carnaval de Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

On Thursday, February 19th, Puerto de la Cruz will then select it's Carnaval Queen. On Friday, February, 20th, there will be the Cabalgata Anunciadora (the evening, opening parade) in Santa Cruz. Likewise, on Saturday, February 21st, there's the Cabalgata Anunciadora del Carnaval in Puerto de la Cruz.

Indeed, there'll be carnaval events somewhere on the island for most of the next few weeks, but if Carnaval itself isn't enough for you, the after party, After Carnaval 2009, starts at 5 a.m. each morning at Discoteca Dreams in Santa Cruz,  from Sunday, February 22nd through to Sunday, March 1st.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Latin Rhythms at Santa Cruz Carnaval 2009

Salsa Tenerife have published a list of the 23 orchestras and artists who are going to be playing for the dancing in the streets during Carnaval 09 in Santa Cruz, on the two stages in the Plaza de La Candelaria and Plaza del Príncipe de Asturias - 10 concerts with more than 50 hours of music - between February 20th and 28th (in addition to the seven hour long open-air disco spectacular on the 23rd, Carnaval Monday), all Canarian, except Billo's Caracas Boys, who also played at last year's Carnaval de Día on the Domingo de Piñata.

Billos have filled the Santa Cruz' Plaza de Toros (Bull Ring) a few times and, when sharing the stage with the late Celia Cruz in 1987, achieved a mention in the Guinness World Record when the Carnival Tuesday ball in the Plaza de España, managed to attract the amazing figure of over 250,000 people.

The mostly local lineup is one of the budget saving measures that Santa Cruz town hall have implemented this year. Not that it would make a fat lot of difference to an island utterly dependent upon bringing in tourists by plane load, but I suppose keeping local saves a few air miles too.

The list starts with Mingo Show (no, that's mingo, not minging), who already performed at carnaval for the previous three years and bill themselves as "el primer grupo de animacion de Canarias" (the Canaries' best hosts.) Who, who have seen them, could possibly forget the Mingo Show who supported Orishas in Los Realejos last May, with DJ Sweet (the Canary Island's #1 Feminine DJ, stretching the term DJ to almost the same limits as the lycra in her cat suit) ... especially not their Flypa Song (no matter how hard one tries to get it out of one's head.) All that said, you can't knock 'em, because the public adores them and they certainly know how to get a crowd going.

The concerts in the Plaza del Príncipe (on the 21st, 23rd and 28th), all start at 21:00. Those in the Plaza de La Candelaria, will begin at 21:00 hours on the 22nd, 24th, 27th and 28th. In the Plaza de La Candelaria on the 20th, 21st and 25th they start at 23:00, after the Main Carnaval Parade, The Rhythm and Harmony Contest and the Burial of the Sardine, respectively.

Carnaval de Día (Daytime Carnaval), which was such a huge success last year, is planned again this year, for Saturday, February 28th, 12 mid-day to 5 p.m., with, says the official Carnaval Program, "stellar performances" on the stages in the Plaza de La Candelaria, Plaza del Príncipe, Plaza de Europa and the Calle Castillo. They don't list who will be giving those concerts, yet.
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