Tenerife Flies the Flag for Scotland

Wed, November 10th, 2010 - By Andrea Montgomery

It’s sometimes tricky on Tenerife to spot when the seasons have changed. The days are still sunny, the nights are still warm and the trees and flowers still blossom and grow. But there are some things that signal the arrival of autumn for me – the fact that it’s dark when I’m setting off to watch the mid week Champions League games, the unmistakable aroma of roasting chestnuts in the air and the almighty racket of metal crashing along cobbles.

Anyone arriving in Puerto on the evening of 29th November might be forgiven for assuming the townsfolk were slightly mad as mums and dads photograph their little darlings running around dragging long strings of empty drinks cans behind them. But they pale into insignificance beside the groups of adolescents dragging home-made chariots of old washing machines and car radiators through the streets leaving a trail of sparks and slightly hearing-impaired visitors in their wake.

On a seemingly unconnected theme…the sharp eyed amongst you will have noticed the proliferation of what appears to be the Scottish National flag on Tenerife. It’s to be seen fluttering outside the south airport, standing guard at the entrance to Island Government buildings and emblazoned across Colin’s face on his way to an important home game of CD Tenerife football club.
Fond though the Tinerfeños are of the Scots, that’s not why the flags are there. It’s because Tenerife shares the same flag as Scotland, which is why it’s also on the shirts of the island’s football team.

The significance of Puerto’s street din and the flag sharing are both down to one man – a certain Saint Andrew, or San Andrés as he’s known here, and in much the same way as his connection with Scotland is uncertain, so the Saint’s Tenerife credentials are the source of legend.
It’s told that Saint Andrew arrived on Tenerife to preach the gospels and that his visit coincided with the opening of the wine vaults for the new year’s harvest. Being a sociable sort of chap, Andrew tested some of the wine – so much so that he fell asleep and local children tied old pans to his clothes so that he’d wake up every time he tried to turn over.
Hence the metal racket.

By happy circumstance, the date of the Scottish Saint’s feast day still happens to be the day the island’s vintners unveil the season’s new wine which, along with the roasted chestnuts flows liberally, allowing my ears to fall into the sort of stupor Andrew must have experienced.

If you’re planning on being in Tenerife for Saint Andrew’s Day (30th November), head to Puerto de la Cruz the night before and join in the festive madness.
Or you could go to Icod de los Vinos and watch the locals hurtling down near-vertical streets on polished trays and crashing into mounds of old tyres at the bottom…did I mention the odd behaviour of some of Tenerife’s population when autumn arrives?

Posted : Wednesday, November 10th, 2010 at 2:09 pm
Category : festivals & carnivals
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5 Responses to “Tenerife Flies the Flag for Scotland”

  1. […] to stick with the families and abuelos at the chestnut and wine stalls that fill the harbour to celebrate the month of the chestnut and Scotland’s favourite saint, San […]

  2. […] November and the Fiesta of  San Andrés (Saint Andrew’s Day) approaches – time to roast the castañas (chestnuts) and crack open […]

  3. […] youth of Puerto de la Cruz have even more reason to make as much noise as possible on the upcoming Eve of San Andrés (Saint Andrew’s Day) as this year, the town is hoping to be able to enter the Guinness Book of Records for the longest […]

  4. […] said. Presumably as it was being forecast to peak on the 29th November, the Eve of San  Andrés, or Saint Andrew’s day and a day of celebration on the island. Then on Saturday the alert changed to […]

  5. […] To combine sightseeing and wine there is the Museum of Wine in El Sauzal (which has a nice little tribute to its historically famous English fans).  It also has a beautifully restored wine press, although you’ll find examples of these in other locations too, such as those in Garachicio or Santiago del Teide. Throughout the regions you will find the bodegas of different producers open for visits and tastings. It’s cheaper to buy from them than in the shops. Canarian wines are not cheap plonk, but they aren’t horrendously expensive either. As you drive around you’ll also spot vineyards around the hillsides, especially picturesque in Autumn when the grapes hang ready to be picked. Several towns, most famously Icod de los Vinos, have celebrations to welcome the new vintage on November 30th, on St Andrew’s Day. […]

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