With more fiestas than there are days of the year, when isn’t there a time for parties on Tenerife?
But Midsummer’s Eve on 23 June is particularly special. Despite the name, it announces the start of summer when the personality of much of the island changes and normally deserted coastal hamlets bustle with locals moving to their summer ‘homes’. At around the same time mainland Spanish tourists arrive en masse to swap the ‘too hot’ Spanish summer for the more perfect Canarian climate.
Like most places, Midsummer celebrations on Tenerife have their roots in pagan rituals with Christian worship mixed in for good measure. Although many of the ‘activities’ that take place are linked more with the pagan side, Midsummer is known as the Noche de San Juan (Night of Saint John). However, it’s the ancient rituals which dominate and provide the most fun.
The biggest and most bizarre events take place in northern parts, but anywhere there’s a beach and a Canarian population you’ll find all the ingredients of a classic beach party – bonfires, booze, music, food and fun.
In the south, Los Cristianos is a good place for a Midsummer beach party, as is Las Galletas (easily accessed from Costa del Silencio). To join in, simply bring some grub and your favourite tipple, find a spot on the beach and relax.
El Médano does these sort of celebrations very well and this year will be no different with one of the island’s top DJs, Jacobo Padilla, adding a thumping soundtrack.
All are a load of fun, but it’s once you travel to the north west that things really get interesting.
Puerto de la Cruz is famous for its San Juan celebrations with Playa Jardin overflowing with revellers. There are usually bands at the Castillo San Felipe end of the beach and bonfires are strung out all along the beach. Come midnight, as is the custom everywhere, it’s traditional to head to the sea to bathe in the special Midsummer waters which are said to ensure good health for the coming year, attract the love of your life or make you as fertile as a rabbit. The idea is to last long enough to welcome in dawn from the beach. Next morning the pagan rituals continue as the local livestock (mainly goats) are dragged, kicking and bleating, into the town harbour for similar reasons.
Further along the coast in San Juan de la Rambla, the celebrations include a torch lit procession up the hill behind the town. A particular tradition of the town is conch blowing, something I found out when one was blown right next to my ear.
All the coastal towns in this stretch hold colourful San Juan parties something quite special happens inland above Icod de los Vinos where Los Hachitos involve fiery floral processions which can be seen from miles away. These long, torch lit processions are designed to help the sun fight darkness and to welcome in the warmth of summer days.
If you fancy doing what the locals do, simply head to the nearest beach around midnight on 23 June and take a dip in the Midsummer waters. It really is a magical way to welcome summer on Tenerife.
Category : festivals & carnivals
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