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Carnival season here on Gran Canaria lasts for around two months, beginning with the largest carnival on the island in Las Palmas and ending with one of the smaller carnivals in the south of the island. Almost all of the major towns around the island has their own carnival, some just one or two days of celebrations and others such as Maspalomas (second largest carnival) lasting for over a week.


Each carnival has its own theme such as the ocean, space the circus .... and it's hoped everyone that year will try and think of a costume that suites the theme. For the last day often people go "overly"-dressed for a funeral. Failing either of those options then the other tradition is for the guys to go dressed in girls costumes and the girls dress up as the guys. There's usually a lot of very muscular fairies and slutty nurses.

The highlight of each carnival is the main parade where floats (lorries and buses decorated in a particular theme) drive down the main high street boarded by and surrounded by crowds of people in fancy dress. As the parade finishes there's then an all-night party until the early hours of the following morning.


On the main day(s) the crowds that attend are nearly all in fancy dress and for the main party at night you'll be hard to find anyone amongst the crowds of thousands that isn't; everyone here really does get into the carnival mood. All that usually takes place on Saturday afternoon and evening then the day after is the burial of the sardine! The sardine represents the carnival which has died, for this year at least. A giant papermache Sardine usually on top of a lorry is paraded through the streets to a place where it can be burried. Coastal towns will take it to the beach to be burnt then buried whilst other towns will have a bonfire all followed by fireworks and of course a night-tiome party afterwards. 

Some of the larger carnivals (Las Palmas, Maspalomas, Telde ...) first have evenings dedicated to electing their carnival queen (one of which pictured above) and carnival "drag queen" which are highly recommended nights out to see stunning costumes and in the case of the drag queen an entertaining show of music and dance. Check out last year's carnival drag queen on youtube As you'll see from the video, the drag queen starts out in a huge and spectacular costume in which it's almost impossible to move but this breaks down until the contestant is wearing little more than a liatard, crazy head-dress and 20 inch or more platform shoes in which they then have to dance and do acrobatics. The carnival queen has an equally tough job. Her costume is usually 4 or 5 meters tall and wide, weighs anything from 30 kilos upwards and the head-dress can also weigh several kilos and be a meter or more in height. The idea is to walk elegantly around the stage with a crazed smile on her face.


Each of the carnivals also has a special day for kids and Las Palmas has a host of other competition days including body painting, a day for the grandmothers, special choirs and even a day for dressing up dogs, to name a few.



Las Palmas = 15 February to 10 March
The theme in Las Palmas is One Night in Rio
(Full schedule here)


Maspalomas = 14 - 24 March 
The theme is The Moon



Pretty much every day of the week there's a market happening somewhere on the island. The Friday market at Mogan seems to be one of the more popular but please don't let that put you off checking out any of the others. Mogan is a beautiful place to visit but I think the market there is THE most comercial, fully of holiday t-shirts and knock-off sunglasses. 

The further north you head the more typical Canarian produce and craft you're going to find. Teror market on a Sunday is my personal favourite and again the town is a beautiful place to visit. Here in the south the Maspalomas market on a Wednesday/Saturday is a nice mix between local craft and priduce and souveniers.

Don't buy from the first stall you see, go round the entire market and compare prices. If you catch someone haggling listen in and see how far down they get them. Don't pay the first price you're told!


"Romerías" are local fiestas held in villages or towns throughout the year.

The word "romería" means pilgrimage so the main day of these fiestas usually involve everyone walking from one part of the town or region to a point of worship, usually the local church. There offerings are made to the local patron or saint or in some fiestas to the ancient gods.

Often part of the tradition is to dress in traditional Canarian costume (or version thereof)

Gran Canaria has two weeks to celebrate gay pride. The first is actually the biggest and that's Maspalomas in the south of the island usually around the first or second week of May and the other is in the capital city Las Palmas the end of June.

For more info that you don't find here

Las Palmas - http://colectivogama.com/

Maspalomas - http://www.gaypridemaspalomas.com/


 As you can see this year's pride dates in the south are 19 to 25 May. Check each day on our events calendar or below to see what is happening and when. Of course don't miss the parade on the last Saturday nor the party after in the Yumbo from 6pm onwards, for me that's the highlight of the week.

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