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Monday, 15 February 2010

It’s Carnival Time in Fuerteventura, Canary Islands

In many Roman Catholic countries the weeks leading up to Lent become Carnival time. It is a time when locals forget about the stresses and strains of everyday life and how much their real Estate is worth or not and dress up in often outrageous costumes to go out onto the streets and party well into the night.

Fuerteventura, second largest Island in the Canary Islands, Spain is no exception to this and the Carnival season starts in mid-February in the capital Puerto del Rosario, moving on to other towns and villages around Fuerteventura and the other Islands of Tenerife , Lanzarote and Gran canaria.

The main event in each location is the grand parade with many floats representing local businesses, marching bands, and of course the Carnival Queen – or queens, as you will often see not one, but two or even three queens – an adult, a junior and possibly a drag queen.

The majority of locals – men, women and children – join in with the festivities wearing fancy dress costumes made especially for the occasion. Men become women for the evening and all are a sight to behold, with tourists who know of the tradition also taking part.

So what is happening and where? Below are details of the events in the main towns but there will also be activities in the smaller towns and villages:

Puerto del Rosario

• The first, smaller parade takes place on 17th February at 8 pm. The parade represents “the birth of the sardine”, the sardine being the symbol of Carnival in the Canary Islands.
• On Saturday 27th February is the grand parade. This is traditionally the largest and most spectacular parade on the island, starting at around 5pm.
• On 6th March is the final parade “the burial of the sardine” when a huge papier mache model of the sardine is burned (cremated).

Caleta de Fuste

• In Caleta this year the grand parade takes place on February 20th. The theme for 2010 is the 1960’s so you can expect to see once again the fashions of this exciting era.

Corralejo

• The grand parade this year starts at around 5pm on Saturday 13th March. The theme of the carnival is The Jungle and there is a wealth of material for sale in every imaginable animal print in fabric shops in the old town. No doubt there will be many Tarzans, Janes (probably predominantly male) and “animals” galore on the streets of Corralejo.

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