Las Palmas Carnival

The Las Palmas Carnival is probably one of the biggest events of the year in Gran Canaria. With a full schedule of performances, competitions and celebrations it takes over the capital for just over 3 weeks. The carnival usually begins either end of January or during February, depending on when Easter falls each year. This year 2016, the […]
 

The Las Palmas Carnival is probably one of the biggest events of the year in Gran Canaria. With a full schedule of performances, competitions and celebrations it takes over the capital for just over 3 weeks. The carnival usually begins either end of January or during February, depending on when Easter falls each year. This year 2016, the carnivals start on the Friday, the 29th of January in Las Palmas.

Download the 2017 program here or click on images to enlarge. 

 

 

Las Palmas Carnival 2017

The Highlights and Events of the Las Palmas Carnival

After the opening ceremony on a Friday, the following days are mostly taken up by the murgas and comparsas competitions. Murgas are groups of singers whose songs are based on the current social and political events. The groups perform on the main stage in the Santa Catalina park and are judged to find the best Murga winner. Comparsas are groups of singers and dancers who have rehearsed for month to perform their act on stage hoping to win the comparsas title. The children’s groups are also judged during this first week. Both the murgas and comparsa groups are present for all the street parades throughout the celebrations.

comparsas

The Vegueta party kicks off on the following saturday, 8 days after the opening ceremony, with their day carnival and parade. This is followed by the Traditional Carnival on Monday the 8th, which brings people together in the Barranco de Guiniguada, the valley between Triana and Vegueta. The dress code is old fashioned white costumes. White powders are thrown, such as talcum powder or flour especially on those not wearing white. Generally, within a few minutes everyone is covered from head to toe in white powder.

Election for the Carnival Queens

Election for the Queens happens in the second week of February. These also include a Junior Queen, Dame Queen and Drag Queen. The evening of the main carnival Queen Gala is a huge event of the Las Palmas Carnival. If you are looking for tickets to see it live, you have to be quick as they sell out almost immediately. It is broadcast on local TV in case you do not manage to get tickets. Foto: Rtve.es

Carnival Queen 2015

The Drag Queen pre-selection gala follows the next night but the final gala for the Drag Queen is not until the following weekend. As with all of the major galas and events they all end with a carnival party. Usually starting from about 11pm and running through until about 4am.

On Saturday, 15 days after the opening ceremony, Las Canteras beach welcomes the sun carnival. This consists of murgas, comparsas and drumming groups who parade along the beach front. It is a very colourful and musical event.  Swimmers and sunbathers relax on the beach whilst the sound of drums bellow out along the beach front.

Comparsas

The final weekend of the carnival is taken up by the Drag Queen Gala on the Friday night. This is a very popular event too if you are looking for a ticket. Saturday though is the main event, the grand parade. With well over one hundred floats and cars. They travel roughly six kilometres from one end of the city to another. They are accompanied by the carnival Queen, Drag Queen, Junior Queen and the Dame Queen as well as the murgas and comparsas. Every year this event gets larger and larger and it is viewed by over 200.000 people. It ends with an all night long street party.

The last day sees the burning of the sardine. A giant model sardine is paraded through the city before reaching its final resting place on Las Canteras beach. It is then burnt symbolising the end of the carnival. A spectacular firework display lights up over the water and brings the carnival to a close until the following year.

sun Carnival

The original carnival dates back to the eighteenth century and is probably the oldest and most celebrated event in Gran Canaria. Today’s carnival follows a format that was bought in back in 1976 after the death of Franco. This brought the return of costume and musical parades and street parties, something you have to experience, if you happen to be on the island when it is on.

 

Text: Amanda Belmonte

Quick Overview

Name of Event: Las Palmas Carnival
Place: Santa Catalina Park and various other places in the city
Hour:  Evening & Night
Date: 10th February to 5th March
Highlight: Grand Parade, Election of the Queens
Official Web Page: Ayuntamiento de Las Palmas
Full Program: 2016 Carnival Full Program
Top Image: Promotur Tourismo Canarias

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Las Palmas Carnival written by Amanda Belmonte
My name is Amanda Belmonte and I am a web/graphic designer and photographer. I have lived in the Canary Islands for almost 15 years. Although I have lived in Lanzarote for most of that time, Gran Canaria has always been my dream Island to live on, yet it has taken me 13 years to get here.


The Gran Canaria Regional BLOG offers a platform for bloggers to write about Gran Canaria. This article represents the personal opinion and impression of the author. We like to offer a wide range of opinions and impressions to our readers. Do you have any suggestions for this article, did you notice an error? Do you have Canarian recipe you need to share? Would you also like to write about Gran Canaria? Please contact us here.

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