photo: Tenerife Turismo
Update 27 August: The programme for Los Cristianos’ Virgen del Carmen fiesta, starting now, is HERE, The religious part of the fiesta lasts until 1 September, when the popular and cultural events begin with the election of the Fiesta queen from 9.30pm on the 2nd. There will be music and dancing every night in the Fiesta ground next to the main roundabout at the entrance to the town, and on Sunday 6th from 8pm following a mass, the statue of the virgen will be at the head of a procession through town and out to sea, followed at 11pm by the traditional fireworks display, music and dancing. On Monday 7th, the End of Fiesta dance will be held from 10.30pm. During the fiestas there will be disruption to traffic in the town, and parking bans: the details are HERE.
Update 27 July: La Caleta’s (Adeje) Virgen del Carmen fiesta will start this Wednesday, 29 July, and last until Sunday, 9 August. The fiesta incorporates the La Caleta Bay swim on Saturday 1 August (link), and the main fiesta days are Saturday and Sunday, 8 and 9 August. On the Saturday, there will be a religious service and procession from 9pm followed by fireworks around 10pm and music and dancing from 11pm until much later. The procession down to the harbour with the embarkation and sailing around the bay and coastline will take place on Sunday from midday, and the end of fiesta dance will be held from 10pm. The full programme for the fiesta is HERE.
Update 26 July: Playa San Juan’s Virgen del Carmen fiesta starts today, with the main days next Saturday and Sunday, 1 and 2 August. On the Saturday, there will be a religious service and procession from 9pm followed by fireworks around midnight and music and dancing until much later. The procession down to the harbour with the embarkation – and sailing around the bay and coastline to Fonsalía, Alcalá, and Puerto Santiago – will take place on Sunday from 11am, and will last most of the day. In the afternoon at 3pm there will be a “popular paella” with music and dancing lasting through the evening and until the early hours. The fiesta will last until 4 August and there will be something on somewhere in the town on most days.
Update 15 July: Los Abrigos’ fiestas are always popular, and the village’s Virgen del Carmen fiesta will be celebrated from tomorrow, 16 July. The main day is in fact tomorrow, Thursday 16th, when the religious acts start at 1.30pm, followed by the procession of the virgin and the embarkation and flowers in the harbour’s waters. There will be a paella for everyone, and then music and entertainment from 3pm. At 9pm the virgin’s statue will be returned to the church and this will be followed by fireworks and music until late. There will also be dances on Friday and Saturday evenings.
Update 10 July: Two Virgen del Carmen fiestas are about to start in popular tourist areas, one in Las Galletas and the other in Puerto de Santiago, near Los Gigantes. Las Galletas’ fiesta takes place between 15 and 20 July, with Sunday 19th being the main “embarkation” day in which the virgin’s statue is loaded onto a boat to sail around the harbour to bless the waters for the coming year. Santiago del Teide’s fiesta, as I say below, is a very long one, and actually started yesterday … but will continue for the next ten days! The full programme is HERE, but as with Las Galletas, the main religious day, with the spectacular embarkation of the virgin, will be Sunday 19th, though the party, with the fireworks, will be from around 9.30pm on the evening of Saturday 18th.
Original post 29 June: It’s midsummer, and Tenerife is pretty much on holiday from now through July and August, and over these next two months or so throughout the island there is a series of fiestas honouring the Virgen del Carmen – the Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel who is the patron saint of fishermen. Perhaps the biggest celebration is in Puerto de la Cruz where tens of thousands will congregate on 14 July, whereas Los Cristianos’ celebration is particularly popular in the south – this year’s is 1-7 September.
The same will take place, however, in most coastal towns and villages, albeit on a smaller scale. The fiesta almost always involves a religious service followed by a ritual march with the Virgin’s statue being carried to the sea accompanied by musical bands and locals often in traditional dress. It is then loaded into a boat which sails around a harbour or stretch of coastline to bless local fishermen and their catches for the coming year. The event ends with the inevitable fireworks, and music, dancing and food – which last throughout the following three or so days, usually over a long weekend, though some, like Puerto de Santiago’s, last a fortnight!
Inland, the Virgen del Carmen is honoured for protecting and preserving the fertilility of Tenerife’s volcanic soil and its agricultural productivity. Our own village fiesta is in July, and I’ve posted descriptions of the utter chaos before, including how we are given our own bomberos truck which parks at the top of our little mountain road, and about the time they set our neighbour’s house on fire … see HERE, it’s called “Helmets and hosepipes time” for very good reason! The year before last, one of the Catherine Wheels came loose and rolled down the hill, very much alight, chased by several fireworks “technicians” in something of a panic, there are photos from that display HERE. I’ll post dates for the more popular Virgen del Carmen fiestas as and when I come across them, but wherever you watch or participate in this year’s Virgen del Carmen fiestas, have a great time!