The Carnival of Las Palmas is a historical event in the capital city of this Spanish archipelago, just northwest off the coast of mainland Africa. Considered to be Gran Canaria’s party of the year, it involves lurid parades, all-night raves, fancy dress parties, and local competitions such as a choir competition, a drag queen contest and the Carnival Queen pageant.
These beauty contests get fiercer every year; coveting of the carnival queen title and outshining other contestants’ outrageous costumes that get more outrageous every year is not taken lightly by these contestants. During the drag queen contests, you will see platform heels from 10 to even thirty inches in height! And its only here in The Carnival de Las Palmas will you see a mermaid dancing… on stilts! These are not your normal beauty contest; aside from the Drag Queen contest that is so popular, there is the regular pageant and one for the more mature contestants.
The crowned Carnival Queens get to ride onboard the grand floats in the carnival’s grandest parade, The Gran Cavalgata.
This festival is the most amazing and exuberant display of color and grandeur. Nearly everyone comes in fancy costumes. The event kicks off in Parque Catalina with dancers and various other acts. The event is so electric and so memorable that a visit to Spain early in the year is not complete if you do not get to experience this event.
It is a pre-Lenten party and one of the biggest and most spectacular events of its kind in Spain and the World. Celebrations of the Carnival continue on until the day of mourning for the symbol of the carnival, the sardine. This day is called velatorio. An enormous sardine is paraded through the streets of Las Palmas as everyone march behind in funeral costume. The next day, the sardine is buried on the beach. Fireworks are then sent up to light the skies, bonfires and all night parties are held to mark the end of the festival.
Gran Canaria is a beautiful island with lots of world-class shallow beaches, perfect for safe swimming and sun-bathing. Sailing is a popular pastime in the Gran Canaria so make sure you experience that on your visit. Other attractions are Spanish churches and museums such as Chapel of San Antonio Abad, the Atlantic Centre of Modern Art, the Cathedral, the Episcopal Palace and the Canary Museum.