It forms the integral part of the catholic calendar and it could date back to the Romans or some say it was a church sponsored programme. Whatever may be the origin, the main essence of the carnival was to gather together to enjoy in a cultural setting, before accepting the Lent period and forget about all wordly things.
One of the famous carnivals in medieval times was the Carnival of Venice in Italy which later spread to other catholic countries like Spain, Portugal, Germany and France. Later with Catholic colonisation, it spread to the Caribbean and Latin America. And from the Caribbean it spread to Britain with British colonisation.
In the Canaries, the Carnival of Santa Cruz in Tenerife is said to be the eight most important carnival's in the world. The Carnival is in two parts, the first is the official one where performances by numerous groups of murgas, comparsas, rondallas and other musical groups can be seen. The second part is where people in hundreds trickle onto the streets every night in fancy dresses and masks and party till the next day morning.
In Lanzarote, the Carnival in Puerto del Carmen is popular amongst locals and tourists, so get your fancy dress costumes and masks on and get yourself down to the Carnival to party all night until the wee hours !!!!!!