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Monday, February 03, 2020

When Tenerife Carnival was 'disguised' as Winter Festival (From 1961 to 1976)

Posters for the Fiestas de Invierno 1962 - 1965

During the dictatorship of Franco, carnival celebrations were banned throughout the country, but after the period of the wars: Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) and World War II (1939-1945), the Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife was held clandestinely, to a greater or lesser extent according to the tolerance level of the different governors. In 1954, Civil Governor of the province, Arias Navarro, prohibited the celebration of carnivals, while the greatest carnival tolerance was demonstrated by governor of the island, Santiago Galindo Herrero (1958-1960), who liked to attend most of the events that were celebrated.

Josefina Soriano Vela, Queen
of the Fiestas de Invierno
(Winter Festival) 1968
Then in 1961, then civil governor Manuel Ballesteros Gaibrois, the bishop of Tenerife, Domingo Pérez Cáceres, and the secretary of the Provincial Board of Information and Tourism, Opelio Rodríguez Peña, had the happy idea of ​​replacing the name of Carnival with Fiestas de Invierno (Winter Festival).

It seems clear to me that the real motivation behind this name change, therefore, was to attract tourism and money and to improve the economy of the island, rather than it simply being to meet the popular demand and indeed, in 1967, the Winter Festival was declared a Festival of National Tourist Interest.

After the death of Franco and the subsequent arrival of democracy in 1976, Carnival regained its name and gradually became the popular festival, declared, in 1980, Festival of International Tourist Interest and becoming part of the history of Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

Fiestas de Invierno 1971