Like the rest of Spain, La Palma celebrates Carnival in the week before the season of Lent. I always say people are making sure they have something really juicey to repent, but these days most people just regard it as a darn good excuse for a party.
It wasn’t always that way. Franco banned Carnival. It’s always been a time when people could say and do things they wouldn’t normally get away with, and perhaps he didn’t want people walking aruond with placards asking inconvenient questions. Perhaps, more seriously, he thought that a couple of thousand people in the with several drinks inside them might turn into “Occupy La Palma.” Or perhaps he just felt that people should be working hard instead of having fun.
So there was no public Carnival organised by local government. Instead every social club on the island held a “Winter Fiesta” that week, complete with fancy dress.
Carnival 2012 starts in Los Llanos on Tuesday 14th with the children’s parade, and in Santa Cruz and Los Sauces on Friday 17th. You can get the programme for Santa Cruz de la Palmahere, for Los Llanos here and for Los Sauces here. I expect tourist information offices will have the programmes too.