The Great Tenerife Tradition of Romerías

Mon, May 2nd, 2011 - By Andrea Montgomery

Plan a holiday to Tenerife outside of its winter high season and you’ll find hotel prices considerably lower, golf course fees drastically reduced, endless sunny days where the temperatures hover around the 28°C mark and best of all, barely a week going by without some town or village holding its annual romería.

Literally meaning a pilgrimage or excursion, the romería is a wonderful mix of pagan and religious celebration; a medley of a village fête, a harvest festival and a County Fair. The main event takes the form of a procession of decorated carts pulled by oxen and accompanied by assorted livestock, the entire population of the town and surrounding areas – all in their traditional costumes – and the town parrandas (folk musicians) who provide the music to which everyone who knows the words sings along, which is just about everyone except the visitors.

Each romería has certain characteristics that define it. In the small town of Tegueste which is one of the earliest to take place each year, the carts are decorated to look like small galleons with white billowing sails and have beautiful shell tapestries on them. In Los Realejos the carts are festooned with flowers, branches, farm implements and the head of a goat sacrificed for the fiesta.

In La Orotava, one of the largest romerías on the island, the procession is traditionally led by camels ridden by the romería beauty queens who look decidedly nervous with their lumpy steeds. As well as the parrandas, there are groups of traditional dancers to accompany the carts through the grand, historic streets and there are so many carts that it takes more than three hours for the full procession to pass.

But the best part of the romería is the impromptu flying buffet and free flowing wine to which all spectators are invited. As each cart rolls past, its occupants fire food into the crowds which eager spectator hands grab and snatch with practised aplomb. Over my years attending romerías, I have been hit by bags of popcorn, little rolls spread with sausage paste, hard boiled eggs (those could have your eye out!), fruit, pork chops and chunks of steak wedged into a doorstop slice of crusty bread. To accompany the food, huge vats of wine are syphoned off into a frenzy of cups and glasses which are thrust at every cart by the crowds.

It’s a fantastic spectacle and loads of fun, so if you’re planning on being here when one takes place close to your resort, make the effort to go. It’s like nothing else you’ve ever been to.

Tenerife’s Main Romerías:
San Marcos, Tegueste – Sunday closest to 25th April
San Isidro, Los Realejos – last Sunday in May
Las Mercedes, La Laguna – last Sunday in May
San Isidro, La Orotava – Sunday after Corpus Christi
San Antonio de Padua, Granadilla – in first two weeks of June
San Benito, La Laguna – second Sunday in July
Nuestra Señora de la Esperanza, El Rosario – first Sunday in August
San Roque, Garachico – 16th August
San Agustín, Arafo – last Saturday in August
Nuestra Señora del Socorro, Güímar – 7th September

Posted : Monday, May 2nd, 2011 at 10:39 am
Category : days out
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2 Responses to “The Great Tenerife Tradition of Romerías”

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