There are so many fiestas and public holidays on Tenerife that we sometimes wonder when the local Canario population find the time to fit in work.
Most last from a couple of days to a week. However, the bigger traditional towns and cities (Santa Cruz, La Laguna, La Orotava, Los Realejos, Tacoronte etc.) throw shindigs that can last for almost a whole month. These are normally their ‘Fiestas Patronales’ where loads of events are laid on under the guise of celebrating the patron saint.
Puerto de la Cruz celebrates theirs in July, calling the whole shebang, quite simply, the July Fiestas.
Every fiesta patronal comes with special masses, lots of mini processions and at least one big, emotional procession that coincides with the main event. In Puerto de la Cruz this is the Día de la Embarcación (15 July 2014). The Virgen del Carmen and San Telmo are carried through a crowd of thousands to be placed on fishing boats (the most nerve-wracking part of the process) and taken on a sea trip after being seen off with a heart-squeezing rendition of Ave Maria.
In reality, apart from the main procession, the actos religiosos have limited appeal. The fun is to be found during the ‘actos festivos’.
Exhibitions: These can involve art, photography, floral displays and antique cars. The fountain in Plaza del Charco in Puerto de la Cruz is turned into a mini model version of the town’s harbour area during the July fiestas.
Sports: Sporting tournaments feature heavily with football, tennis, basketball, cycling, beach volleyball, swimming and running making up the more conventional sports. Local flavours come in the form of dominoes, Canarian wrestling and traditional sports like juego de palo (stick fighting). Santa Cruz used to include cock-fighting in their programme but that’s disappeared recently (only from the programme).
Music: You can’t have a fiesta without live music. Traditional Canarian and Latino is the norm but there are usually rock and often jazz concerts as well. One of the best concerts during the July Fiestas coincides with the ‘Sardinada’, a wine and sardine fest held on the night before the Día de la Embarcación.
Food: Fiestas Patronales are good places to try the local nosh. Often there are tapas routes, cooking exhibitions and lots of food kiosks. The July Fiestas end with the creation of a giant paella beside the harbour (20 July). The most colourful gastronomic event is often the Cena or Baile de Magos, an outdoor dinner dance attended by hundreds of locals in traditional costume.
Beauty Queens: There are always, always beauty queen competitions.
Quirks: There is often something that falls into the ‘quirky’ category. For the July Fiestas it’s Infinity Extreme – an endurance race that is a blend of swimming, cross country running and The Fear Factor.
Fireworks: During summer the northern coast of Tenerife can sound like a war zone there are that many firework displays. They’re an essential part of any fiesta.
Towns may change but, on the whole, the ingredients remain much the same wherever you stumble across a fiesta patronal on Tenerife.
Category : about tenerife
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