The Fuerteventura Carnival season takes place during the months of February and March each year. Each of the 6 municipalities on the island choose a date for their Carnival events. These dates do vary each year, as they are linked into the date of Easter. The one fixed date is in Puerto del Rosario, which is always linked into the day of Martes de Carnaval (Shrove Tuesday in the UK).
Each year, each municipality chooses a theme for their Carnival (usually by public vote) and at the beginning of the year they organize a competition to design the Carnival poster. For example, this year’s themes (2014) were: The Cinema, Terror, The World of the Olympics, Superheroes and Professions.
Carnival events do vary, but generally last for two weeks. The events start with the Birth of the Sardine, which is a traditional ceremony to mark the beginning of the events. The sardine is a large papier mache painted fish which is put on to a float, and paraded through the streets.
The events can include an opening Gala, sports events, traditional dances, modern dances, drumming band competitions, drag queen galas and carnival princess competitions, and all night parties with singing groups and DJ’s.
A distinctive type of singing, by Murga groups, is a feature of Carnival. These groups dress up in clown type costumes, and sing satirical songs about local politicians and current events. Unless your Spanish is very good, then you won’t understand what the lyrics are, but they do make a colourful show when you get 20 – 30 singers dressed up in the same brightly coloured outfits on the stage.
The Drag Queen Galas are popular, as the Queens parade and dance around the stage, scantily clad and on very high platform shoes. In Puerto del Rosario they have a fancy dress raft race where lots of rafts make their way from the harbour to the town beach of Playa Chica.
Generally, most events are free of charge and take place in the evenings, and go on past midnight, with the party atmosphere building up as the music and drumming gets louder, and more beer and rum is consumed.
Most of the carnival events take place in Corralejo, Puerto del Rosario, Antigua, Gran Tarajal and Morro Jable.
The main event is the Grand carnival parade which takes place on the last Saturday of events (usually in the evening). At the biggest street parades, in Puerto del Rosario and Corralejo, it can take up to 3 hours for all the floats and individuals to pass by a given place on the route.
On the following day, there is another parade to celebrate the Burial of the Sardine, which symbolizes the end of Carnival.
Fuerteventura carnival events are worth going to see and getting involved with, because they are colourful and noisy occasions where most people dress up in some type of costume, whether linked to the theme or not. It is a time to join in and have fun, and there are lots of photo opportunities as well. So, if you are coming on holiday here during Fuerteventura carnival, then pack a costume or buy yourself a silly hat etc. from a local shop here, and enjoy the Carnival season!