Fiestas in Tenerife
The word ‘fiesta’ can mean a public holiday, or just a party. There are many fiestas in Tenerife that are celebrated locally that do not qualify as holidays, yet the villages and towns can be taken over by the celebrations. Many of these fiestas are romerías, which are pilgrimages in honour of a Saint or the Virgin Mary. Often the statue will be of the patron saint of the village accompanied by a colourful procession featuring oxen-drawn carts, folk music, and traditional Canarian dress. There are literally hundreds of such fiestas throughout the island, of which the summer romerías in La Orotava, La Laguna and Candelaria probably draw the largest crowds.
There are many local fiestas which can vary from a simple party in the village square to the elaborate and breathtaking flower carpets in La Orotava. As residents of Tenerife it can be difficult to make time to attend many of these events, but if you manage to, you will find it well worth the effort.
Fiestas de la Cruz
The Fiestas de la Cruz vary from town to town, for example in Santa Cruz there are costume parties and many other towns have processions and fireworks.
The most impressive Corpus Christi festival is in La Orotava where colourful carpets of flowers are set out in the streets to mark the procession route, and in the Plaza del Ayuntamiento there is an incredible tapestry depicting Biblical scenes made from different coloured volcanic sands. The designs for the beautiful pictures laid along the streets and squares are very intricate and nothing short of spectacular. It is said that the very finest coloured sand and rock particles come from above Mount Teide´s snow-line, whilst the painstaking removal of millions of petals from locally grown flowers keep the womenfolk busy for hours on end! If you are in Tenerife during the period of the celebrations of Corpus Cristi, then to see the creations of visual beauty is an event not to be missed.
Fiesta de San Juan
Celebrated along the beaches of many towns is the Fiesta de San Juan, which was originally a guanche celebration of the summer solstice. Music and bonfires continue through the night, and at dawn there is a ritual of purification with a quick dip in the sea.
Fiesta de la Virgen del Carmen
The patron saint of fishermen is honoured with processions of the virgin through the streets and then onto a boat, where it is accompanied by a small flotilla and generally some fireworks.
Fiestas de la Virgen de Candelaria
The Virgin de Candelaria is the patron saint of the Canary Islands. Pilgrims from all over the island make their way to La Candelaria to attend various masses and a procession with a floral offering.
Fiestas del Santo Cristo
The Fiestas del Santo Cristo feature military parades, religious processions and fireworks. Ventorrillos, traditional outdoor cafés, serve traditional Canarian food and drink in the Plaza del Cristo.
Fiesta de San Andrés
This is the traditional day in which wine cellars are opened up and new wine is tasted. In Puerto de la Cruz and La Orotava children run through the streets banging pots and pans or dragging strings of tin cans. In Icod de los Vinos youngsters take to tobogganing down the steep streets on greased wooden boards.