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The Santa Cruz de Tenerife carnival is often listed as among the world's greatest annual festivals see also hotels in Tenerife. Takes place in February.
Santa Cruz de Tenerife carnival

It opens with a massive multi-coloured human snake parading through the streets, made up of floats, elaborately costumed revellers and musical groups. Visitors from all around the globe flock to the town to partake in the cross-dressing event of the year, and there isn't a single person in the crowd not dressed as the opposite sex!

The election of the carnival queen is particularly spectacular, with all the candidates parading on stage in their glamorous finery wearing the most fantastic costumes, which can weigh more than a hundred kilos.

The Santa Cruz de Tenerife carnival

Once the queen has been elected, the parade announcing the start of the carnival takes place, with a cabalgata (horse parade) kickstarting a whole weekend of mad street partying and revelry.

The entierro de la sardina, or the burial of the sardine, where a gigantic effigy of a fish is buried and turned into a bonfire, represents the end of carnival madness, and the beginning of Lent. Many participants get into the spirit of the event by dressing in mourning clothes.

Traditionally, the sardine's cremation is followed by fireworks and a huge open-air ball. The carnival finishes in a similar way to how it started, with shows and dances, processions, cabalgata, and fireworks.

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