Wild Festival Watch: Santa Cruz de Tenerife
When you hear the name Santa Cruz De Tenerife I'm sure you imagine an exotic Island paradise. In this case imagination is not far from reality. Santa Cruz De Tenerife is a port city on the island of Tenerife, in Spain's Canary Islands. The island has amazing weather, rich culture and beautiful beaches. it is no wonder that in 2012, The Guardian named Santa Cruz De Tenerife among the five best places in the world to live. It is also home to the second largest carnival in the world, The Carnival of Santa Cruz.
The Carnival of Santa Cruz is a week-long affair that is usually held at the tail end of each February or early March in Santa Cruz De Tenerife, this carnival attracts people from all over the world, and seeing as its almost that time of the year here are a few things you should know about the Carnival of Santa Cruz. The Carnival of Santa Cruz is as crazy and as hedonistic as any particular festival can be expected to be. There are instances of cross-dressing, extravagant costumes and even nudity throughout this usually week-long event. So, if you are not ready to shed off your inhibitions this might not be the place for you The carnival usually starts with an opening parade with a different theme each year. This is usually followed by masked celebrations and parades. Initially these masks were a way to hide one's identity because such revelry was banned by the Catholic church, but now these masks are just used to add magic and mysticism to the celebrations.
Once you get used to the weirdness and magnificence of it all you can now prepare yourself for long nights of street dancing, entertainment and all the delicious street food you could possibly imagine. There are also all manner of shops selling costumes and face paint for the revelers making sure everybody fits in. One of the most anticipate events of the whole festival is the high heel marathon. This is a predominantly male race, where the contestants cross dress and ran through an obstacle course in skyscraper high heels, if this doesn't shatter your rib cage from laughing, nothing ever will. This event is slowly but surely becoming one of the most popular events in the festival. Then there is the crowning of the carnival queen because what is a carnival without a queen to preside over the festival events. This is usually a contest among chosen beautiful young girls dolled up and dressed in extravagant gowns and riding around in elaborate parade floats for the whole city to admire.
Finally, a trip to the Carnival of Santa Cruz cannot be considered complete without witnessing the Burial of the Sardine. This is the most surreal and other worldly experience most people ever experience. On Ash Wednesday a giant paper-mache fish is carried around the streets, followed by mourning men wailing uncontrollably. This fish is usually paraded until it finally meets a fiery end at the end of the night during a wonderful fireworks display.