Helmets and hosepipes time again … the Virgen del Carmen cometh
Update 30 August: Los Cristianos’ Virgen del Carmen fiesta starts its public events this evening with the election of the Young Gala Queen from 9pm in the fairground. Tomorrow, Friday 31 August, there will be an information session from Acción del Sol on pet adoption and animal maltreatment from 5pm in the Plaza de La Pescadora outside the Cultural Centre. This will be followed by various events in that Plaza as well as, from 9pm in the fairground, the selection of the Children’s Gala Queen, followed by a dance with music from Sensación Gomera.
On Saturday, events switch to the old harbour, where there will be various attractions including traditional children’s games and a foam party from 10.30am. From 4pm, back in the Plaza de La Pescadora, there will be a tasting and sale of various Canarian products and refreshments. At 9pm, the Third-Age Gala Queen will be chosen in the fairground, followed by a dance with music from Maquinaria Band and Fortaleza.
On Sunday morning from around 10.30am there will be a range of events on Playa de Las Vistas, including bouncy castles, football, a swimming competition and, at noon, a release of turtles back to the wild. In the evening, there will be a traditional Mass and procession. The Fiesta ends on Monday 3 September with a flotilla in Los Cristianos.
Update 3 August: One of the most well-known local fiestas in honour of the Virgen del Carmen is that of La Caleta on the Costa Adeje, and this years is this coming weekend. Tomorrow, 4 August, will see the “bay swim” take place at 11.30am, with some 100 swimmers signed up to take part. This will be followed on Sunday 5th by the ever popular embarcación of the Virgen, an event that sees the whole bay filled with little boats as the statue is sailed around the harbour area. It all starts at 1pm, but as always, the area will be full far earlier than that, and parking will be at a premium, so it’s advisable to get there quite early.
Update 7 July 10.45pm: Well, no damage, apart from a terrified puppy who was intelligent enough to go and hide behind the sofa!
Update 7 July 9.30pm: Well we’re half an hour or so away from the fireworks, which are now arranged in banks across the lane from where we live – about 50 metres away, at most. A pile of empty beer cans accompanies the two men who are to let them off …
The above photo was taken at last year’s event, looking 50 metres away, at most, in the other direction. They set the whole hillside alight, though that was when we were still mid-calima, with a warm wind blowing and everything tinder box dry. This year it’s not so bad.
We always get our own personal fire engine up this lane, which is a dead end leading into pine forest and hunting hillside: that’s reassuring, but we still like to have our own hosepipe handy just in case! This year, of course, we have a puppy to comfort too. Throughout the day they’ve been letting off individual fireworks at intervals, and she’s clearly worried about them. Heaven only knows how she’ll cope with all hell being let loose!
Original post 30 June: It’s that time again, when throughout Tenerife there will be a series of fiestas for the Virgen del Carmen. We’ve just had the village committee around with car horn blaring and fireworks being rocketed from a hand-held launcher: they’re collecting for the fireworks. Our village’s fiesta lasts a week, coming to a head between 6 and 8 July this year, so there’ll be some sleepless nights!
The main event is a religious service with the statue of the Virgen paraded around the village square and then brought to the bottom of the top hill to watch the fireworks, which are let off in the field across the lane from the cottage. Directly across, hence our own private fire engine up the lane …
We stand and watch them, motorbike helmets on and visors down to protect ears and eyes, with garden tap on and hosepipe in hand in case something catches fire … and we contribute for this!!! We stand in the garden under a rain of fireworks casings, imagining that we’re in the Somme amidst smoke and explosions that feel like the end of the world. The fireworks people never refuse a beer, but look at us as though we’re insane …
The Virgen del Carmen is worshipped throughout Tenerife though, and her fiestas are going to be taking place in most mountain and coastal villages over the next few summer months. She’s the patron saint of fishermen, so her statue is often taken to a harbour and loaded onto a little boat and sailed around the coastline, with musical bands accompanying and parades of locals often in traditional dress.
The biggest fiesta is in Puerto de la Cruz, and this year’s is on 10 July. But there’ll be plenty of occasions over the next few weeks to find a Virgen del Carmen fiesta somewhere! Los Cristianos’ fiesta will be the first Sunday in September.