How to experience Lanzarote carnival and other traditional parties
Surely you’ve heard about the importance of carnivals in the Canary Islands. Possibly you’ve seen pictures and videos on the Internet and thought: “Awesome! I want to be there.” So, what are you waiting for?
We would dare to say that the Canary Islands are one of the world destinations where you can experience the carnival party with high intensity. This festivity is celebrated for a few days and in each island is experienced differently. Do you want to know how is Carnival in Lanzarote?
Carnival isn’t told, but experienced
Between the months of February and March, Lanzarote dresses in colours and happiness. Each Lanzarote municipality has its own program of activities and a different theme that changes every year. For example, this year 2018 we have La India, Carnival in San Bartolomé (from February 3th to 16th), Carnaval Embrujado (Haunted Carnival) of Puerto del Carmen (from February 15 to 18) or Medieval Period, at the Carnival of Teguise (from 2 to March 10).
The masquerade, as it’s also known as this Carnival, is one of the most fun and daring festivities in Lanzarote. It’s even said that its inhabitants change their way of being to blend with their costume during these days of parades and dances. During the weeks of Carnival, you can find all kinds of characters walking through the streets of Lanzarote or drinking something on a terrace.
One of the most popular carnivals in Lanzarote are those of Arrecife, the capital of the island, which this year acquires the theme of An Enchanted Carnival and will be held between February 2nd and 14th. What can you find during these magical days? Horseback riding with batucada (samba style) and more music until the night, people disguised any day and at any time, contests of Drag Queen, competitions and exhibitions…
El Gran Coso de Arrecife is a term that you will hear if you travel to this island to experience the Carnival. El Gran Coso is a parade with floats and other characters on foot, such as the murgas, comparsas and batucadas. It is one of the most important events of Carnival and, without a doubt, also one of the most striking because of the number of people participating and how colourful it is, as well as the creativity of its floats.
On the other hand, this 2018 Gala de la Reina will be again celebrated in Arrecife after two years. Gala de la Reina consists of a series of candidates with incredible costumes created by well-known designers in the Canary Islands. In this gala is chosen which will be Queen of the Carnival in Arrecife. In the same way, a Drag Gala is performed, also with striking carnival costumes.
El Entierro de la Sardina is the final culmination of the Carnivals in Arrecife. The last day of celebration is lived with a parade of mourning, which transits the promenade of the town. The rite of the Burial of the Sardine symbolizes the return to order, to routine. Hence, live with regrets, waiting for the rest of the year to pass quickly to live the next carnival.
Murgas Contest, a show full of irony
One of the activities that all the carnivals of the different regions of the Canary Islands have in common is the Murgas Contest. And you’re wondering, what is the Murgas contest? It’s a group of people who sing songs whose lyrics are a criticism of politics (and politicians), although sometimes other social problems are also dealt with. Usually the base of a well-known song is taken and the letter is changed, which always has a point of humour and irony.
The contests of Murgas are usually carried out in three phases and one final. So we usually have four days of Murgas. The winner of this contest will be the group that stands out the most in costumes, interpretation and lyrics. There are also contests of adult Murgas and contest of Murgas children.
– If you want to live the Carnival of Lanzarote to its fullest, but you are in another Canary Island, don’t worry! In less than an hour you can go from Fuerteventura to Lanzarote at the best price with our ferries (and you can take your luggage, pet and even sports equipment such as surfboards for free!). Book now your ferry ticket to experience the Carnivals in Lanzarote.
– If, on the other hand, what you want is to take advantage of the days of more bustle to escape to a small paradise like the island of La Graciosa, we also have that option for you! You will take less than 30 minutes from Lanzarote (Puerto de Órzola) to La Graciosa (Caleta de Sebo). Book your ferry now to live your own Carnival holidays this year.
Festivities and pilgrimages
Although the Carnivals are one of the most famous celebrations in Lanzarote, there are many other festivities and pilgrimages that are celebrated on the island, especially during the summer months. Each town has its own parties and patrons. Some of the best known are those of Punta Mujeres, Arrieta, Caleta de Famara or La Santa, all coastal towns.
In Arrecife the festivities of San Ginés are celebrated on August 25th. This one consists of two weeks of celebration that attract people from all over the island. Sports competitions, musical performances and more activities will be hosted.
But if we had to choose an important pilgrimage from Lanzarote, it would be the Pilgrimage of the Virgen de los Dolores (also known as Virgen de los Volcanes), celebrated in the town of Mancha Blanca on September 15th. This is one of the most important moments of the island. The pilgrimages attract people from different parts of the island who even arrive on foot and dressed in traditional clothing. In these festivities Canary folk music is usually played during the pilgrimage. It’s a great opportunity to learn about traditional Canarian culture.
The month of July is dedicated to various celebrations in the coastal towns in honour of Virgen del Carmen. A parade is performed where an image of the Virgin is carried through the streets of the different localities. You can read more about the festivity of the Virgen del Carmen in this article ‘Virgen del Carmen and New Year’s Eve. The golden celebrations of La Graciosa’.
Other parties known on the island are the municipal celebrations of the Virgen de los Remedios in Yaiza, during the month of September, or the festivities of San Juan in Haría, where bonfires are lit and beaches are crowded with people at night for this celebration.
Which of these popular parties of Lanzarote is your favourite? Surely it will be difficult for you to choose only one!