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Santa Cruz de Tenerife Carnival Queen 2008

Nauzet Celeste Cruz Melo Carnival Queen in Santa Cruz de Tenerife 2008

Nauzet Celeste Cruz Melo was crowned carnival queen in Santa Cruz de Tenerife in 2008 in a costume entitled, "La Edad de Oro" (The Golden Age), designed by Santi Castro and representing the (French owned) supermarket chain, Carrefour.

In 2008, the court consisted:

  1. 1st Maid of Honour: Davinia Mendoza Hernández, with a costume entitled "Peccata Mundi" (The sins of the world), representing Grupo AC Bingo Colombófilo and designed by Juan Carlos Armas.
  2. 2nd Maid of Honour: Alicia Retuerto Barrera, with a costume entitled "La fuente de la vida" (The source of life), representing newspaper "El Día" and designed by Leo Martínez.
  3. 3rd Maid of Honour: Tamarit Raimóndez González, with "Aquella por la que el sol brilla" (The one for which the sun shines), representing Centro Comercial Alcampo - La Laguna and designed by Juan Carlos Armas.
  4. 4th Maid of Honour: Gemma González Rodríguez, with a costume entitled "El mágico mundo de Picasso" (The magical world of Picasso), representing Barbacoa Tacoronte and designed by Expedita Hernández.
The theme of carnival in Santa Cruz de Tenerife in 2008 was "Magic". The stage that year was moved to the esplanade of the Parque Marítimo César Manrique. The decoration was inspired by the fight between good and evil (white magic and black magic), incorporating motifs from The NeverEnding Story, The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter. During this gala the Queen of 2007 was crowned again since the previous year, she wasn't crowned as is traditionally done. The 2008 gala, full of colour and magic and directed by Jaime Azpilicueta, recovered the essence of Carnival, with all the Carnival groups participating and was presented by magician Jorge Blas and Tenerife journalist, Iván Bonales.

If the Gala to select the Carnaval Queen in Santa Cruz, Tenerife, last year was "Amargo" (bitter), then this year's was surreal and, I'm not just talking about one of the costumes, with one of Salvador Dali's "melting" clocks and a picture of the mustachio'd artist on the flounce of her dress. (That was my favourite.)

The surreal part was seeing an ostensibly English design, chosen by a panel of mostly Spanish judges, that also included, French actor, Gérard Depardieu and Italian actress, Sophia Loren. It was reported Loren would "probably" dress up in costume. If so, she was disguised as actress, Sophia Loren.

When this year's queen came out onto the stage originally as a candidate, she was introduced as Queen Elizabeth I (you know, of England), not Reina Isabella I, and the music that was played while she paraded was "Rule Britannia". You certainly can't accuse the Spanish of being bad losers, endorsing Queen Elizabeth I and Rule Britannia, given the history of the Armada! Nor indeed of any remaining animosity over the part she played in local history. Elizabeth I is known to have backed English pirate, John Hawkins, who was slave trading partner of Pedro de Ponte (son of Cristóbal de Ponte, the man who financed the conquest of Tenerife). Hawkins once lived in Ponte Jr's house, the Casa Fuerte, in Tenerife, in Adeje. Last night's "Queen Elizabeth I" is from next door in Arona.

The upshot is what Nelson (and a few others before him) failed to do by force, it seems we've finally managed with a Carnaval Queen (if only for a year) and, more surprisingly, we've achieved this Révolution surréaliste with French, Italian and Spanish help. Oh, the slated Harry Potter and David Copperfield were magically made to disappear. That is, they were conspicuous by their complete absence at the gala and turned out to be Tenerife myth and rumour, as we'd suspected.

The televised gala was school end of term concert quality and there were the endless performances by all the carnaval groups and dancers, but that's exactly what carnaval is all about, so it was good, despite all the technical hitches. They just added to the entertainment. The worst of those hiccups might have been that there was no sound to her mike all through Xiomara Laugart's first number, but it was easily  surpassed because the sound did work through her second one.

The Orishas were great, even if they were miming (as you'd expect.) Santa Cruz' carnaval got another boost, as their Hip Hop Conga, the official tune of Carnaval 2008, with references to the city, the fiesta and the word shared by Cuba and the Canary Islands, guagua (bus), appears on their album, Cosita Buena.

Tenerife Land of Eternal Christmas

Sunbathing SantaDesert Island ChristmasScuba Diving SantaTropical Santa
Santa's Having a Whale of a TimeSurfing SantaWaterski SantaCamel Rodeo Santa
With a wide range of products in each design, click the pics (above) to see the full selections.