Surviving fiesta in South Tenerife

Wed, September 19th, 2012 - By Linda

Expats love the local fiestas and romerias, because, after all, we all enjoy a knees-up and a glimpse of a life totally different from our everyday world. Throughout the year and throughout the Canary Islands animals are dunked in the ocean, statues are paraded, masses are intoned, flags and flowers are strung across streets, kiosks perched on any convenient street corner, and many nights are danced away, as each village celebrates its local fiesta (many have more than one). In the more rural areas fiestas are often a kind of harvest festival celebration, on the coast they are a blessing of the seas for bounty in the months ahead.

 

decorations El Amparo

 

Surviving fiesta in your home town is another matter altogether. The first sign comes about a week before, as cranes trundle along streets attaching string after string of bunting to lampposts, balconies and shop-signs; empty shops are plastered with posters advertising concerts (usually salsa), treasure hunts, displays of folk dancing or lucha canaria, the dates for the election of the various queens of the fiesta, and, if you live in a big enough town, the trucks and trailers of the travelling fair begin to arrive.

 

Ferris Wheel Los Cristianos

 

I can really only speak of the towns in which I’ve lived but if you are within earshot of the town square or the land allotted to the fair, then you can rule out sleep for almost a full week. In Los Cristianos, for example, you get the whole shebang – as summer draws to an end, the empty lot near the town’s entrance becomes a fairground, complete with bad pop music, flashing neon and the tempting aroma of hot dogs. If you live close you may just want to move out for a while.

 

Tejina procession

 

When I lived in the much smaller town of Los Abrigos, in San Miguel de Abona, there wasn’t so much space for a fair, but bands pounded out salsa nightly until the wee small hours, clearly audible from the nearby resort of Golf del Sur. Really, you have to wonder when folk get any rest. I was lucky to be able to move into the back bedroom for the duration.

 

_Fireworks

 

As the processions and the masses, the dancing and the drinking begin to climax there is usually a firework display, and these are, almost always, really spectacular, especially in the villages on the coast, as the sparkle and colours reflect on the ocean. For a small island Tenerife certainly can hold its own with just about anywhere in the world, when it comes to pyrotechnics. That’s not always such good news for pets, and of course you need to keep them indoors during these times. The local boys love to buy firecrackers at the fair and scare the girls… and also your dog. If you live really close to the display, as I do in El Médano, it’s a good idea to get a tranquillizer from your vet, who will advise on the dosage. The other alternative is to send Fido off to friends or a doggie hotel for the night.

Short of actually moving out (and some folk do) the best survival tactic is to go with the flow – join the celebrations, make up for lost sleep at siesta time, and taste the genuine, local nightlife.

Posted : Wednesday, September 19th, 2012 at 9:10 am
Category : festivals & carnivals
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