Tenerife Fiestas

Thu, August 25th, 2011 - By Linda

Whilst driving through Arona with a friend, whose country’s culture is considered quite laid back, he noted the bunting adorning the streets, and even he wondered that there was yet another fiesta about to begin. He laughed that there might just be too many on Tenerife. Most of us, coming from countries more uptight, can’t get enough fiesta I responded.

The biggest party of the year here is Carnival in Santa Cruz. It’s huge, second only to Rio they say, but towns in the south also celebrate the onset of Lent, (given a loose interpretation of that period). If you’ve ever been in Los Cristianos in early March then you will have enjoyed a scaled down version of the big event. Many people choosing Los Cristianos or Playa de las Americas now schedule their vacations to coincide with carnival. Apart from the Sunday Parade, the preceding nights are full party mode, following elections of carnival queens and various competitions.  The fairground sprawls along the surrounding roads, until it meets the outdoor dance floor, where you can salsa the night away. Granadilla de Abona and Los Gigantes also have their own carnivals if the bigger ones are too hardcore for you!

Then there are the traditional romerias, the biggest of which are, undoubtedly, in the north, but the southern inland villages have similar traditions. Arona, Valle San Lorenzo, Granadilla de Abona and Arico spring rapidly to mind.

There is also a host of saints’ days and feast days. The feast of San Sebastian is celebrated enthusiastically in Adeje in January, when horses and goats are taken down to be blessed and bathed in the ocean close to La Caleta. The stalls in the church square there do a roaring trade in kebabs and tortillas, as well as the ubiquitous hot dogs, to an estimated crowd of 30,000. Some of us made the short pilgrimage from Adeje center down to the beach this year (the going down was easy, it was the getting back which was difficult!). In the same month various towns throughout the island were celebrating the feast of San Antonio Abad. We stumbled across this fiesta in Santiago del Teide, and followed the procession from the church for a while, as people took their pets to be blessed, one young girl even clutching her tortoise amidst the usual dogs and cats and horses.

In coastal towns which were once fishing villages like Los Abrigos (next to Golf del Sur), Playa San Juan or El Médano sacred statues are taken from the local church and out to sea to bestow their blessings, and inland they tour the streets and sometimes fields.

Rule of thumb is, if you see street bunting and other décor then there is fiesta of some sort going on, and it’s well worth stopping to enquire what’s happening. For me the appealing thing about local fiestas is that they are aimed at the local population, so they aren’t tourist-ified in any way. There are treasure hunts, dominos contests, children’s’ talents contests and all sorts of hometown-style stuff going on, but guests are always made really welcome.

Finally, fiestas always end with a spectacular free firework display, when the town is on the coast watery reflections make it even more special.

Posted : Thursday, August 25th, 2011 at 9:18 am
Category : festivals & carnivals
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2 Responses to “Tenerife Fiestas”

  1. […] traditional romerías to Carnaval and from Santa Cruz to Cruz del Carmen, Tenerife has a feast of fiestas every […]

  2. […] love the local fiestas and romerias, because, after all, we all enjoy a knees-up and a glimpse of a life totally different […]

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