carmen puerto cruz (800 x 352)

Photo: Tenerife Turismo

Updated 25 August: Another very popular celebration of the summer Virgen del Carmen fiestas is in Los Cristianos, and this will be taking place between tomorrow, 26 August, and Monday, 5 September. From Friday 2nd, there will be music and dancing each of the last four nights in the fairground, with the main day of the fiesta being Sunday 4th, with the procession from Church Square, and the embarkation of the virgin and the flotilla of little boats sailing around the bay, all rounded off with fireworks at 11pm. The full programme for the fiesta is HERE.

Updated 26 July: The La Caleta Bay Swim takes place this Saturday, 30 July, as part of La Caleta’s Virgen del Carmen fiestas, which started yesterday and last until Monday, 8 August, with the main days of the fiesta on Saturday and Sunday, 6 and 7 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.

Original post 22 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 12 July for the famous Embarcación de la Virgen in the old harbour (photo above), whereas Los Cristianos’ celebration is particularly popular in the south – this year’s is 30 August-5 September.

The same will take place, however, in most coastal towns and villages at some point during the summer months, albeit on a smaller scale. The fiesta almost always involves a religious service followed by a ritual procession 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, music, dancing and food – which continue throughout the following three or so days, usually over a long weekend … though some, like Puerto de Santiago’s, last a fortnight!

Despite being the patron saint of fisherman, the Virgen del Carmen is also greatly honoured inland 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 roof on fire … see HERE, it’s called “Helmets and hosepipes time” for very good reason! A few years ago, one of the Catherine Wheels came loose and rolled down the hill, very much alight, chased by several firework technicians in a panic – much “coño”, “prisa” and “joder” to be heard! There are photos from that display HERE.

Wherever you watch or participate in this year’s Virgen del Carmen fiestas, have a great time!


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