Colourful Carpets and Corpus Christi on Tenerife

Fri, May 31st, 2013 - By Jack Montgomery

Explore the historic towns of Tenerife over the next week and you’ll discover the island has gone all flower power with petals and seeds replacing tarmac and cobbles in the island’s oldest towns.

It’s claimed that Corpus Christi is the oldest religious festival on Tenerife with the first celebration dating back to 1496. However, religious pomp and circumstance aside, what makes it a feast for everyone’s eyes is that Corpus Christi on Tenerife means saying it with flowers.

 

Flower Carpets, La Orotava, Tenerife

 

From 1 June onwards, Tinerfeños across the island will lovingly lay out elaborate and vibrant floral depictions of religious and contemporary themes on the streets of their town or village.

Many flower carpets are laid this weekend and visitors to Playa de las Américas, Los Cristianos and Costa Adeje in the south of the island have a couple of options to enjoy Tenerife’s flowery event. In both Adeje and Arona Town, Sunday 2 June is the best day to view the carpets.

Most older towns and cities have Corpus Christi carpets in one form or another, sometimes the best being in the most surprising of locations. For example Tacoronte has a decent display whilst the one in Santa Cruz is only okay.

 

Corpus Christi, Flower Carpets, La Laguna, Tenerife

 

But the big boys of Corpus Christi are La Laguna and La Orotava.

This year’s display in La Laguna takes place on Sunday 2 June and will involve around 60 different carpets lining the UNESCO World Heritage Site’s preserved old streets around Plaza del Adelantado.

Although a huge event, La Laguna’s Corpus Christi celebrations don’t attract many non-Canarios which means that there is plenty of space to wander at leisure, taking time to absorb the beautiful and occasionally poignant images.

 

Corpus Christi, Flower Carpets, La Orotava, Tenerife

 

A Lagunero told me that their carpets are better than La Orotava’s. Having seen both, I don’t share their view. The La Laguna carpets are wonderful and the setting is perfect but many of the carpets are made from coloured salt – it’s just not the same.

La Orotava, near Puerto de la Cruz, is where the tradition began on Tenerife and the alfombras de flores (flower carpets) that run from the Ayuntamiento building (town hall) up to La  Casa de los Balcones, down to the Iglesia de la Concepcíon and back to the town hall are all painstakingly constructed with flowers and seeds.

A party atmosphere from early morning on the day of the Corpus Christi alfombras (oddly in La Orotava it’s not actually held on Corpus Christi but a week later, so this year it is on 6 June) makes it easy to forget that it is actually a religious festival. Visitors ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ at the carpets to a soundtrack of local folk music mixed with Galician pipes.

 

Corpus Christi, Sand Tapestry, La Orotava, Tenerife

 

The jewel in La Orotava’s Corpus Christi crown is the world record-beating tapestry made from sand and soil from Teide National Park that is laid outside the town hall. It’s a work of art constructed by master alfombristas (carpet-makers) whose intricate detail astounds year after year.

Because of the sand tapestry, the floral displays and an infectious atmosphere, La Orotava is still THE number one place to visit to experience a blooming marvellous Corpus Christi on Tenerife.

Posted : Friday, May 31st, 2013 at 10:27 am
Category : about tenerife
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One Response to “Colourful Carpets and Corpus Christi on Tenerife”

  1. […] Christi Flower Carpets, La Orotava (6 June) Whilst lots of places on Tenerife lay floral and sand carpets, they usually do so a week before the main event in La Orotava where the true master alfombristas […]

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