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The Moving Target of Los Cristianos Carnival

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. At Arona Council, this tips over into the realms of moving target and even outright 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 with the other big carnivals on the island) - and given the demand for information and visits to posts about Los Cristianos Carnival - I think you'd like me to, too.

So after translating this year's program, I thought I'd go through the archives to see if a pattern would emerge that would allow us to arrive at a method to predict when these fiestas would take place each year, but, sadly, it doesn't work.

Dates of Los Cristianos Carnival Main Parade through the years:

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, I plotted how many days there were between the two dates. In the distant past, the Los Cristianos carnaval main parade had always taken place 12 days after Shrove Tuesday

Some delay is understandable, as fairground attractions, food stalls, etc., have to be dismantled and moved from the north of the island and rebuilt in the south.

But then they went and mucked things up, by making it a week later, with the main parade 19 days after Shrove Tuesday instead. Even worse, it has since been moved forward by a further week to make a gap of 26 days and then even as much as 33 days. New events are being added to their schedule every year; some of the events that used to take place mid-week have been moved to weekends and the length of the carnival is longer than it used to be, so it just isn't possible to predict.

The Gran Coso Apoteósico del Carnaval (The Main Parade) generally happens on the final Sunday from around 4 pm from the Paloma Beach apartments in the Avda. Juan Carlos I to the Centro Cultural de Los Cristianos and the last carnival event tends to be the next day, on the Monday night: the Burial of the Sardine, followed by the Widow's Ball. You still need to know when it begins, let alone when it ends.

Arona Council published the dates for 2023, but originally, used the wrong year's calendar. So I contacted them and asked if they were sure, because I didn't think they meant to infer that their main parade could be on a Monday. Eventually, the penny dropped, they updated their calendar and confirmed the dates to me. In mid-February, I checked and found that the whole thing had been moved a week. 

Again for carnival 2024, I checked in late 2023 and was pleasantly surprised that there were dates published on the calendar of fiestas on their official council website and, in good faith, added those dates to my post and promoted them. Went back to the official council website calendar again just a couple of weeks before the carnival should start, which shouldn't even be necessary, and found that Arona had, once again, moved the whole thing on a week. Seething does not begin to cover it.

Of course many thousands of people who live in the area go to the carnival and the tourists that just happen to be around, may, possibly, accidentally get to hear about it, but surely, it's common sense that if people were able to plan this would attract those who really want to be there who are more likely to contribute to the local economy? Are Arona really totally unaware that people might have booked flights, holidays, etc., on purpose to come to their carnival? People who, if they change the dates, will be disappointed, or out of pocket? Honestly, it makes me angry on your behalf, because I think it shows an arrogant level of contempt for visitors. 

Still, dates and details for 2015 came just 2 days before it began! We try to update each year, but, as you can see by the time we can be sure, it's always too late.

Tenerife Land of Eternal Christmas

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