Easter is a busy time for the Canary Islands. More flights arrive on Good Friday at Reina Sofia Airport in Tenerife than on any other single day of the year. It’s no surprise, given that it’s the first chance of sunshine for thousands of Europeans since the end of the previous summer.
Though the majority of people come to roast on the beaches of Costa Adeje or Playa de las Americas there are increasing numbers who come to witness the various religious festivals which mark Holy Week on the island.
The best known of these undoubtedly is the Passion Play in Adeje. An estimated crowd of over 30,000 watched last year. The various, traditional processions in La Laguna during Holy Week, with their hooded penitents, also draw large crowds.
Less known, and a more recent, innovative tradition, is the Easter Floral Art of Guia de Isora, the small village which is the nucleus of the municipality of the same name and is in the hills above Playa San Juan and Alcalá. When I checked recently, there is nothing else like this display either on the islands or in mainland Spain.
There in the early hours of the morning of Maundy Thursday a dedicated group of local citizens join invited experts, who in the past, have included sculptors and floral artists from mainland Spain. They work to put in place works of art, which represent the Passion of Christ, all along the narrow streets surrounding the parish church, using flowers and other vegetation, though paper, materials and metal can also be used to create a floral display. The works remain in place until Friday night.
I went last year for the first time and was knocked out by the professionalism of the work, as you can see from the pictures. Certainly, I’ve seen shabbier works in art galleries!
I arrived with friends a little before midday when the final touches had been made, and we spent an extremely pleasant couple of hours strolling the quaint and shady streets around the pretty church square. It was fascinating to see how a much-used title, like “The Judas Kiss” or “Crown of Thorns,” was interpreted by the artists in fresh and beautiful ways.
The church itself wasn’t open at this time, which was the only minus to our chosen time. Presumably they were preparing for a busy weekend. The majority of people come on Thursday evening, or on Good Friday itself, so we were able to wander the streets peacefully; sometimes exchanging opinions with local residents about the particular piece we were observing and sometimes watching with interest as professional photographers took advantage of the peace to pursue their trade – great way to pick up tips!
Afterwards, we retired to a local bar to quench our thirsts, devour delicious, freshly-made tapas and banter with our friendly waiter, who was also enjoying the peace before the expected crowds descended later in the evening.
To anyone visiting Tenerife this Easter who enjoys art, floral art, flower arranging or just seeing a local expression of religious devotion, and who prefers to avoid the crowds in Adeje or La Laguna, I would certainly recommend a trip to Guía de Isora.
Category : events
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