Thursday, 12 February 2009

Visiting Tenerife soon? Don’t miss Carnaval 2009

You can tell when Carnaval is just around the corner, the TV screen is filled nightly with Tenerife’s version of the Diddy Men; 20 to 50-strong singing groups in fantastic baggy-trousered and be-hatted costumes with face paint jobs that Chipperfield’s Circus would kill for, belting out tuneless political satire and blowing on toy trumpets.

For the Tinerfeños, this passes as prized family entertainment, for which they actually buy tickets to sit in a windy plaza and spectate until the early hours of the morning giving levels of applause that tribute acts on the south coast can only dream of.
The ‘Murgas’, as they’re known, are definitely an acquired taste, but luckily, they’re the only aspect of Carnaval that is.

Having a much wider appeal altogether is the whole process of electing the Carnaval Queens for the coming year.
If Julia Morley hasn’t already done so, she should seriously consider retiring to Tenerife where the whole concept of beauty pageants is alive and well and where they hold as many male beauty contests as female ones, although I suspect feminists would argue that falls into the ‘two wrongs’ category.

Political correctness aside, last Sunday saw the unveiling (not literally) of the candidates for Puerto de la Cruz 2009 Carnaval Queen titles, including the junior category.
The little girls strode purposefully up and down the stage in their Tres Reyes outfits with one hand on a hip, waving to the audience. The eight Carnaval Queen hopefuls then sashayed their way across the stage in glittering, backless evening dresses showing all the oblivion to the night’s chill that is a pre-requisite for this job.

There was much dancing to African drums, this year’s theme being ‘Tribes of Africa’ and a guest appearance by local born celebrity dancer and choreographer Rafa Mendés whose CV includes choreographing such luminaries as Madonna, Robbie Williams, Kylie Minogue, Blue and Take That.

And so the buzz that is Carnaval begins. Over the next couple of weeks that buzz will grow and crescendo before bursting onto the streets in full-on party mode and if you’re planning to be on the island, the parades are a must-see.

Carnaval might be the biggest event in the fiesta calendar, but it certainly isn’t the only island fiesta; Going Native in Tenerife has a calendar of all Tenerife’s main fiestas and tells you what to expect and how to get the best from them.
Adding a touch of local colour and celebration to your time on Tenerife can make the difference between a good holiday and a great one.
Don’t miss out.

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