As you probably know at this point, Gran Canaria is one of the Canary Islands. They are located near the Eastern coast of Africa, and they are one of the most popular destinations in Spain. Gran Canaria weather makes this place perfect for those who are addicted to the sun no matter what time of the year. But apart from that,
Gran Canaria has a wide variety of culture and entertainment.
In this post we are going to tell you about one of the greatest and main events and festivals in Gran Canaria and in the whole world… Gran Canaria Carnival! At Villa Gran Canaria, we know that lot of places around the world envy the Canary Islands for their amazing Carnival festivities. During Gran Canaria Carnival, every corner of the island becomes a non-stop party full of music, dancing, floats and fireworks.
But there are some cities which celebration is especially amazing, and those are especially Las Palmas, Telde and Maspalomas carnival. This festival is celebrated singing, dancing, and above all, dressing up with stunning beautiful costumes full of make-up, feathers and lots of glitter.
Everything glows during Gran Canaria Carnival!
The history of Gran Canaria Carnival
We should begging talking about the origins and the history of Gran Canaria Carnival. It is one of the oldest and most deeply rooted festivals in the world. It began in the 15th century, just after Spaniards colonized this area. A great range of people from all over the world started coming to these islands, and a group of Italian people started to celebrate a masked carnival in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
Since then, festivities started to grow gradually in size until they reached their current splendour.
This tradition continued spreading from Gran Canaria to the rest of the islands.
Tenerife Carnival became another huge celebration of this festivity. Nowadays, Gran Canaria and Tenerife carnivals are the ones that provide the most popular activities during their festivity. So we encourage you to visit Gran Canaria during its carnival to live an unforgettable experience.
The most popular activities during Gran Canaria Carnival
The most popular activities in Gran Canaria and the rest of the islands during the carnival season range from the famous comparsas and murgas to a large procession of floats and disguises, as well as different contests!
A comparsa is a band of singers, musicians and dancers that participate in carnivals and other festivities in Spain and Latin America. Its real meaning depends on the specific regional area, but what they basically do is singing about all kind of topics while they wear marvellous visual costumes.
A murga is a form of popular musical theatre performed in Spain and other places of the world, like Argentina, during their carnival festivals. Depending on the place, the murga is more centred on dancing and less on vocals — but, to sum up we could say that the murgas are the comical version of comparsas.
The murgas in the Carnivals of the Canary Islands consist of a group of people who sing popular songs changing the lyrics in which criticism is generally made towards politics, but also to the general problems of modern society.
The big Gran Canaria carnival parade celebrates different contests according to the different categories, but we are going to mention our favourite one — the Drag Queen Contest of Las Palmas.
This Drag Queen Contest is celebrated in Las Palmas and it is another highlight of Gran Canaria carnival and definitely a must if you come to visit the island during the carnival time. It began in 1998 on Gran Canaria, and its goal was finding the best male artist or singer in drag attire, including the long hair, the fancy platform shoes, and a lot of make-up and tones of glitter.
There is a total freedom of expression here, and the carnival’s soul reaches its highest splendour. So you must be ready to witness the best sing and dance in platform shoes contestants’ fight!
Gran Canaria is one of the largest LGTB-friendly communities in Europe, and this is an extremely popular event among the local population of the Canary Islands. It doesn’t matter whoever you are, if you are in Gran Canaria, you must enjoy the gay carnival!
The most popular activities during Canary Islands Carnival
But you can find other activities typical from other islands of the Canaries — like mataculebra in Tenerife, the Carnival of Rams in the island of El Hierro, Los Indianos in the island of La Palma, or Los Diabletes of Teguise in Lanzarote.
In Puerto de la Cruz and Candelaria, both of them located in the island of Tenerife, there are other activities like Mataculebra . It is a traditional representation from Cuba about killing a snake. This snake symbolises the devil, and that’s why it must be killed.
Carnival of Rams
They celebrate the Carnival of Rams in the island of El Hierro. This time, there is a group of men disguised as rams. And they try to play pranks and soil the face of the viewers with black dust.
Los Indianos is quite similar to the Carnival of Rams, but it is celebrated in the island of Santa Cruz de la Palma. This activity is in essence a huge battle with white talc. But there is an only requirement to participate in Los Indianos is to wear white clothes from head to toe.
The celebration begins in the morning. The Indians are gathering among musical performances and laughter. The authorities of the island await the arrival of the Consul of Cuba and La Negra Tomasa in the Atrium of the City Council.
La Negra Tomasa is an essential character in this celebration, she is mainly the ambassadress of this party. When La Negra Tomasa makes its appearance in Plaza de España, we can say that Los Indianos has officially started.
Los Diabletes of Teguise, which basically means “the clumsy devils” in Spanish, is celebrated in the island of Lanzarote. In this celebration, people get dressed up as devils and they dance. Its origin must be sought in its competitive dances, rituals and festivals of the ancient mahos.
The Carnival procession
The day of the Carnival Procession, the streets of the Canary Islands are filled with loads of people having fun and dressed in all kinds of creative and original disguises. The theme of the carnival changes each year, and the participants choose their costumes according to the topic.
If the theme of the carnival is about Hawaii, you have to choose the Hawaiian costume you like the most. If the theme is about comics, you can bring to life your favorite super heroes. We recommend you use the most creative choice of makeup and clothes.
The Carnival Procession is special for everyone.
So if you go to see it, you will see people of all ages dancing in the streets. Teachers decide different costumes for students at schools. Everyone loves to live the Carnival, parade, so don’t hesitate to enjoy this day in Gran Canaria Carnival!
Gran Canaria Carnival is one of the funniest things to do in Gran Canaria during February or March for adults and kids. It is the most important Gran Canaria festival! So don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any doubt or if you need more information about our services. We will be pleased to help you!