The spaniards are festive people. They sure know how to come up with good reasons to party. And when spaniards party it’s a carnival! Traditionally people had a huge party to get rid of food (by eating it ofcourse!) before going into Lent and Easter for the time when they were not allowed to eat meat at all. Thus the name Carnival which actually means “goodbye to flesh” in latin. Carnival is celebrated in all the major cities in the Canary Islands every year in spring.
I had seen the carnival of Maspalomas a year before in February and now I was lucky to arrive to Fuerteventura in March just in time for the Corralejo Carnival week! The carnival lasts for ten days and every night after the sun has set, the town fills with music, colorful lights and vigorous dancers. A big stage was set up on a field in the old town not too far from Casa Carmen, and when the music started we could hear and feel the beats of the drums and the samba rhythms floating through the night air. So every night after dinner we we went down to the carnival field to take part int the celebration.
The dance performances were amazing! Women and men in the most dazzling and skimpy outfits doing challenging choreographies at the same time as the legs were treading ultra rapid salsa and samba steps. Trying to imitate the dancers was a good way to kickstart the digestion after having too much tapas. Another night it happened to be choir night. Choirs of men, women and children in funny outfits singing covers of pop songs in spanish were accompanied by their own orchestras of mainly percussions.
And then there were the big carnival parade on Saturday night. People in Casa Carmen and Casa Hilda were planning outfits for the festivities and so we went out to look at the “procession” of the most imaginative vessels, trucks, cars, bikes, vans ever. It seemed like the whole population of Fuerteventura had arrived in Corralejo and were participating in the parade dancing down the main street. The theme of the parade was Arabian Nights and there were sheiks, pirate ships, camels, fortune tellers, space ships, flying carpets, animals, belly dancers and much more on display.
The evening after the big parade the carnival week ended with the burning of a huge (paper) sardine on the beach. It felt like a very solemn ritual and as the bonfire slowly died out the sky was lit up by glittering fireworks that rained down into the sea.
It was beautiful.
By Monica Gren