Fun meter: FUN
Location: Las Palmas, Gran Canaria
Time: 2-3 hours
Level of difficulty: Super easy
Good for what ages: All ages
The Festival de Los Indianos is a traditional event we have every year during Carnival in the Canary islands. We dress up fancy in all white and have baby powder battles.
You can definitely come with kids, but come prepared.
Carnival is Always in Your Heart
Are you ready for the biggest party you have ever been to?!? It makes Halloween look like tea time. For about 3 weeks in February & March in the Canary Islands, we dress up in fun costumes and hit the streets. We even get school off. There are costume contests, parades, music, dancing, theater, parties and so much more. And it is not just for adults. There are tons of kid activities. My friend Ingrit and her mom enter their little pup Dokie in the dog Carnival and we cheer for them. I love watching the groups of dancers. Mom has always wanted to see the big gala and the drag queen competition up close, but getting tickets to those is really hard. So we grab a table in plaza Santa Catalina and watch from far. Sadly, with Covid, Carnaval has only been in our hearts. I miss it a lot and wanted to share one of my favorite events.
The Festival de Los Indianos
In the Festival de los Indianos everyone dresses in white clothes and throws baby powder on each other late into the night. Crazy right?!? Why the heck would anyone do that?
I searched on the Internet, which has most of the answers (insert dad eyeroll) and found the history of the festival. We are celebrating and making a bit of fun of the immigrants that moved from the Canary Islands to Cuba and eventually returned home with money and riches dressed in fancy white clothes. The baby powder represents their new wealth and it’s a fun to throw it around everywhere. “Los Indianos” dress in white, beige or raw colors. And yes, you must be dressed in your best clothes. Not just any white clothes. Wear elegant dresses in white, beige or pastel tones, which are complemented with lace, lace, hats, fans, umbrellas and of course with jewelry. Men wear white or beige coats or suits, Panamanian hats and even gold watches. I bet that you are thinking the same thing that I am, why would they use baby powder and not golden powder?
Dad Warning: Part of the traditional dress-up includes lots of elements of Caribbean culture and history, from the good to the bad. From copious amounts of rum, to large fruit headrests and a small number of people dressed up as servants / slaves wearing blackface. The fact that this is super offensive to a whole part of the population hasn’t quite caught up here. Consider yourself warned.
How to Make it Awesome for Kids
To make this evening at the festival kid awesome, you need to have a few things in mind.
- Don’t have fancy white clothes? No worries, most blessed for the experience, or you will stick out like a sore thumb.
- Make sure to bring goggles or a helmet. Anything that makes sure that the powder stays out of your eyes. I went with swim goggles and boy was I glad I had them. Sojourn wore the helmet from his Halloween costume.
- Buy and bring LOTS of baby powder. It’s the most fun ever to toss it everywhere. BUT talk to the kids about not throwing it right into people’s faces. I got really excited and got into a bit of trouble.
- Bring water to drink. The dust really made my throat sore and I wish we had extra water. And snacks too. This starts kinda late and we got hungry again.
- Take the bus. Make sure to have your bus cars card all filled up, because they don’t take cash, and our ran out. Which was stressful.
Hopefully in 2022, Carvaval will be back and will be bigger and brighter and funner than ever.