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Even with the start of the 'new normality' on 21 June 2020, popular fiestas and most large gatherings and events are still prohibited and social distancing guidelines still in force. Dates listed on this site, therefore, are still subject to cancellation or change and we will update, where we can, when any new information is made available.

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Friday, February 09, 2018

Ten keys to carnival that only Canary Islanders know

Carnaval 2017 Santa Cruz de Tenerife

If you come from abroad with the intention of enjoying the best carnival in the world (OK, officially that's supposed to be Brazil, but I would disagree), I'm going to unveil the keys so you can enjoy the carnival nights of Santa Cruz de Tenerife like a local:

  1. Any costume will do, and when I say any I mean any ... you can even wear a rubbish sack if you want! Don't spend a lot of money either, it's not worth it, because that costume will never go back home. It is a proven fact. Yes, okay, there are costumes that last several days (you can always tune them with new adaptations and accessories), others that last one night and even some that last for hours only.
  2. Get lost. This is not advice, it's a fact. We all lose ourselves at carnivals, either because you stop to chat or because the crowd limits your field of vision to 0.5 meters. Everything is possible. Do not panic, just go with the flow.
  3. Strangers become friends. Everyone dances with everyone. And the socializing here takes that to its maximum expression. You will discover that good vibes are amazing!
  4. Try to stop drinking before 03:00 am, remember that the music ends at 06:00, so hang around, dance ... If you manage to get to the Plaza de España before the music is over, it will be a miracle! 
  5. Avoid black holes. You know when you enter but not when you leave ... 
  6. Dance in the rain. In Tenerife it rains very little. In fact, we are in February, with minimum temperatures of around 16 degrees, but locals know that during carnival it always rains. But it doesn't matter. It only means one thing: "tonight it's time to dance in the rain" (or under a tree), let nothing spoil the party!
  7. Cry. Drop on the floor and scream in pain. Dressed as a widow, there is no better way to say farewell the Sardine. The funeral is one of the best carnival parties. (This one is for Ash Wednesday.)
  8. Confess, because you'll get home "hecho un Cristo" (made a Christ) - in a terrible mess, because your makeup only has a few hours of useful life.
  9. Don't be shy when it comes to your needs (and the number of times you 'need' will be directly proportional to the amount of alcohol you've imbibed). Don't look for much cleanliness or intimacy. After the third Arehucas (rum) you won't care anyway! For good (and for bad) there is the law of (almost) anything goes.
  10. Enjoy the long wait to get a taxi. Sometimes the best moments of the night take place here ... I can assure you that there are all sorts of different and unique situations. Only if you have lived it will you know what I am talking about. If you get home after dawn, the party has been legendary. If you want to have breakfast on the way, the chicken sandwiches of Mr. Smile or the market are a Carnival tradition! 
In short, let yourself go! And one more tip: pace yourself. Carnival in the street is 6 nights of celebrations (that's not counting the daytime carnival!)

Las 10 claves carnavaleras que sólo los canarios conocen

Photo: Jose Mesa - Some rights reserved 

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