The Party is about to begin! – Written by Michael Lord

The biggest party on the island, the Carnival of Las Palmas, starts officially on Friday 2nd February with the Preg?n, the opening ceremony, and ends with the burial of the sardine on Saturday 24th February. However, if you were around Santa Catalina Park on the previous Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, you would have come across the first rounds of the Murga competition whose final is on Saturday night, attracting huge crowds of loyal friends, fans and families. Murgas are all-male (and only recently, all-female) choral groups who sing satirical lyrics to well-known tunes, usually criticising local politicians or laying into island rivals, Tenerife, especially as football is concerned. Many are the critics who say the satire has become trivialised by such petty squabbling. Alongside banging drums and kazoos, the sound is often reminiscent of a football crowd and I have yet to find a foreign ear that finds it pleasant, but this is all made up for by the colourful costumes, which can be seen in the parades too (without having to listen to them!).