Friday, February 20, 2009

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