Rich in history and culture, Tenerife is a spectacular and vibrant island all year round. But this summer, from April through to September, there are no less than twelve ‘Romerías’ (pilgrimages), celebratory festivals in honour of various saints, sure to capture the imagination. Providing the perfect chance to learn more about the rich and diverse background to this beautiful Spanish island, this is the ideal time to visit.
Jodi Beard, Marketing Director of holiday planning specialists, Cheap Holidays Tenerife, gives a run-down of the Romerias for summer 2016:
Romería de San Marcos in Tegueste – Sunday 24th April:
Celebrated in the town of Tegueste, this large event is a fantastic way to experience traditional Canarian folk culture. Carts adorned with locally-sourced, natural produce, oxen, folk groups, boats, cattle and dancing are all on display, and enthusiastic locals and tourists alike are revelling in traditional costume. Representing the Pilgrimage of San Marcos, one of the most important cultural events in the Canarian archipelago, the day culminates in a blessing of livestock and offerings to Saint Marcos of locally-grown products.
Romería de La Virgen del Buen Viaje y San Telmo in Santa Cruz – Friday 13th May:
On the day before the Pilgrimage of Our Lady of Good Voyage and Saint Telmo, a procession of images of the saints takes place towards the Church de la Conceptión. On the day of the festival, a pilgrimage is accompanied by fiesta celebrations. Carts drawn by animals wearing ornately decorated yokes are surrounded by ‘pilgrims’, dressed in traditional costume, singing and dancing to Noria Street, where the main party takes place. To enter the party, visitors must be dressed in traditional Canarian peasant-wear.
Romería de San Isidro in Guía de Isora – Sunday 15th May:
On the third Sunday of May, in the town of Guia de Isora, thousands of locals and tourists gather for folk festivals, children’s workshops and other activities. The Sunday is the culmination of a festive atmosphere that will have been in progress all week throughout the town.
Romería de San Isidro in Los Realejos – Sunday 29th May:
This ‘National Tourist Interest’ event boasts singing and dancing in traditional costumes, taking place before the images of San Isidro Labrador and his wife Santa María de la Cabeza and around decorated floats. Participants also dress as wizards and sorceresses. Floats are piled high with branches, plants, flowers, and farming implements, as well as the head of a pig that has been sacrificed for the occasion, each representing the different neighbourhoods. Balconies and windows are decorated, there will be livestock competitions, free wine by local winemakers and as many sardines and potatoes as you can eat!
Romería de San Antonio de Padua in Granadilla de Abona – Sunday 5th June:
The first of June’s romerías takes place in Granadilla de Abona, with the celebration comprising a program of events and parties, including a gala to elect the ‘Queen’ of the festival, as well as one of Tenerife’s famous craft fairs. As with all of these romerías, decorated floats surrounded by folk groups and pilgrims, dancing and singing to Canarian music, fill the streets of the town, following a sombre mass at the town’s Catholic Church.
Romería de San Isidro in La Orotava – Sunday 5th June:
On the same day, the tributes to Saint Isidro continue, this time in the town of La Orotava. As, if not more, popular as the celebrations the previous week in Los Realejos, thousands come to participate. Celebrations follow the same lines as Los Realejos, with singing, dancing and floating filling the streets.
Romería de San Benito Abad in La Laguna – Sunday 10th July:
The town of San Cristóbal de la Laguna is a UNESCO World Cultural and Heritage site, which makes the annual pilgrimage of San Benito Abad an event of ‘National Interest’. Taking place on the second Sunday of July each year, this romería chiefly comprises of tributes of flowers and fruit to the saint. There is also singing, dancing and street processions, accompanied by livestock and carts piled high with local foods. The highlight is the sight of the seven women of the ‘courtship’, all adorned in different kinds of traditional Tenerife costumes.
Romería de la Esperanza in El Rosario – Sunday 7th August:
In 2016, along with the annual Romería de la Esperanza festivities, El Rosario is celebrating its Año Cultural, a year of cultural events. The Festividad de Nuestra Señora de la Esperanza on the first Sunday of August. The program of festivities includes cheese, wine and craft fairs, a book promotion campaign, a vibrant procession through the streets culminating in a firework display come nightfall. The celebration runs from the Sunday through to the following day, with the pilgrimage journey of the image of Our Lady of Esperanza to the City Hall marking the end of the festivities.
Romería de la Candelaria in Candelaria – Sunday 14th August:
Beginning on the Sunday with offerings to the Virgin of Candelaria, and folkloric displays at 8pm, the following day begins with mass presided by the Bishop of the diocese, as well as one of the King of Spain’s representatives and the President of the Canary Islands. It is followed by a procession around the Plaza de la Patrona de Canarias.
Romería de San Roque in Garachico – Tuesday 16th August:
Thousands of visitors flock to Garachico for one of the most authentic, traditional festivals on the island. The pilgrimage through the streets is accompanied by lively traditional music and ends in a maritime procession of local fishermen sailing their boats along the coastline. At noon, a religious ceremony takes place at the Church of Santa Ana in Casco de la Villa.
Romería de San Agustín in Arafo – Saturday 27th August:
This celebration begins at 5pm in the Plaza del Cruz, with a procession headed by the image of St Augustine. Following the parade, there is a traditional Eucharist and at the end, offerings of farm produce are given to the saint.
Romería de la Bajada de la Virgen del Socorro in Güímar – Wednesday 7th September:
Considered the oldest of the pilgrimages, and the most popular, the celebrations begin towards the end of August, culminating on 7th and closing on 8th. There are a wealth of events and attractions in Güímar during this period, making this extremely well-attended.
With many of the Romerias taking place in the north of Tenerife, a more relaxed part of the island, there is much to be enjoyed, including beautiful landscapes, native laurisilva forests, natural pools and watersports at the coast, alongside an array of gastronomy and friendly locals. For those looking for the perfect Tenerife holiday this summer, Cheap Holidays Tenerife offer a variety of attractive holiday packages from the UK from as little as £123 per person based on 2 people sharing, flying from London Gatwick Airport.
For more information, visit http://www.cheap-holidays-tenerife.com/ or call Cheap Holidays Tenerife today on 0800 0124 300.