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Even with the start of the 'new normality' on 21 June 2020, popular fiestas and most large gatherings and events are still prohibited and social distancing guidelines still in force. Dates listed on this site, therefore, are still subject to cancellation or change and we will update, where we can, when any new information is made available.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Christmas in Santa Cruz: Lights, fireworks, music & theater make up the festive program

Lights in the Calle Bethencourt Alfonso, Santa Cruz

The City Council of Santa Cruz de Tenerife presented on Tuesday the Christmas program for the city. The first act will take place tomorrow, Thursday, 26 November, at 7:00 p.m., when the Christmas lights, made up of more than three million LED bulbs, are officially turned on. This will be transmitted through social networks to avoid the public gathering to watch.

The Christmas lighting in Tenerife's capital this year will have more than 26 kilometers of garlands, 686 Christmas motifs, 170 light arches and five floor motifs. Perhaps the most striking thing is the tunnel of light in the Plaza del Príncipe, which will be about 90 meters long and a cascade of LED lights. A total of 140 streets will be illuminated throughout the municipality. Also the annual planting of the poinsettias began on Tuesday. 

Theater, film, exhibitions, music and dance are all included in the culture program for the Christmas period. The Guimerá Theater will offer shows for children, as will the La Recova Scenic Space. It was also announced that the Book Fair will be held from December 3 to 8 in the Palmetum car park. Comedian Manolo Vieira will perform at the Guimerá.

Folkloric groups, in groups of 6, will tour the districts animating the streets with Christmas carols, activities in which the three bands of the municipality will also participate. The city's shop windows will become improvised art galleries, where different artists will exhibit their creations. This Tuesday, Marco y María's store was already showing one of the works. On December 5 the nativity scene in the Plaza de la Candelaria will be inaugurated, while on the 15th the Palmetum will open to the show Naturaleza Encendida (literally, Nature Lit Up), which has already sold 2,000 tickets.

New Year

Spanish Television will broadcast the chimes marking the end of the year from the Plaza de España and the fireworks displays in the five districts celebrating the New Year.

Three Kings

There won't be a Three Kings parade and their reception ceremony will be held behind closed doors. The city council is negotiating for it to be broadcast on television. What there will be are paseos reales (royal walks) through the five districts of the city. Although they didn't give many details, the council did advance that there will be no stops and that the exact route in each district will only be known at very short notice to avoid crowds.

The program presented by Santa Cruz may undergo variations, as it is still subject to authorisation by Public Health of the Government of the Canary Islands.

Both the Local Police and Civil Protection will be ensuring compliance with the rules and collaborating in everything that stores, residents and visitors may need.

San Andrés, Tenerife wines and travelers

Barrels of wine in Tenerife Gerardo nuñez, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

As San Andrés (St Andrew's Day) approaches and with it the opening of the wineries, so talk turns to wine. The quality of the island's wines has been universally recognized. Proof of this are the references we collect from many travelers who have visited Tenerife.

Sir George Leonard Staunton, 1st Baronet
(10 April 1737 – 14 January 1801)
was an employee of the East India
 Company and a botanist.
The Irish doctor George Stauton, who visited Tenerife in 1792, agrees with the rest of the visitors, both before and after him, that the goodness of the La Laguna climate, together with its exclusive situation, “in an eminence and in the middle of a fertile and very extensive”, determine its great agricultural wealth. For example, only a few years before (1787), the physician John White, “on wines, oil, potatoes, wheat and everything that concerns the supply of ships. The island provides these items in abundance and not only produces the fruits of the tropics, but also a large part of the vegetables of Europe”.

But it is precisely the vineyards "that form the most fruitful branch of the products and prosperity of Tenerife" (Ledru, 1796). Many previous travelers had already discussed the quality of our wines, such as Thomas Nicols (1560): “Tenerife produces three kinds of excellent wines, which are known by the names of Canario, Malvasía and Verdona. The English confuse all three of them with the name Sack. The vines that the Canary Islands wines are produced from were transplanted by the Spaniards from the Rhine to Tenerife, in the reign of Carlos I of Spain and V of Germany. That of Malvasía was not known in Tenerife before the Spanish brought some vines from Candia (Crete), which today produce better wine and in more abundance than on the island of Candia itself, whose goodness is increased by transport and vegetation. The Verdona or Verde wine is stronger than the Canary, it is taken to the east of the island and shipped in Santa Cruz. The Canary goes to the West and embarks in La Orotava”.

In the 18th century, the variety of our wines had been reduced to two, although the quality of Malvasía had diversified, as the astronomer and naturalist Louis Feuillée (1724) states:

“The main riches of the Canary Islands come from the good wine harvests that are made there. There are two kinds: Malvasía and Dry Wine. The Malvasía is divided into two, first and second. The English trade with the former, which is the most delicate and palatable. Hamburgers and Dutch people trade in the latter, which does not have the sweetness and delicacy of the former. Dry Wines are appreciated by those who make long journeys. These wines are never spoiled by many storms in the sea ”.

André Pierre Ledru, who visited Tenerife on a scientific mission in 1796, pronounces in similar terms: “In Tenerife two kinds of wine are made, Malvasía and Vidueño. The first (…) is made with the bunch that is left on the vine after it has matured, so that it is toasted and scorched by the sun. It is sugary, pleasant to the taste and keeps for a long time. Formerly the English exported it in large quantities. Nowadays the owners make it only for their own use (…) Vidueño, extracted from a large grape that gives a strong and spirited liquor, is prepared following the usual method in Europe ”. 

Note that sixty years after Feuillée's comment, the English wine trade in the Canary Islands had already disappeared. 

It is precisely in Ledru where we find an extensive description of the cultivation method: “Every year they are given five tasks:

  • 1st, in November and December the earth is deeply stirred, preparing it to receive the January rains and to kill the weeds; the use of manure is unknown.
  • 2nd, they are pruned in February, to fix the sap in the good vines; This work is done in January if the southerly winds have reigned before, because they accelerate the development of the shoots.
  • 3rd, immediately after this last operation, the vine is tied to the trellises, which are meters and a half high, and the branches that must give the fruit are attached, in order to give them a solid support against the winds.
  • 4th, in May the vine is carefully harvested and cleaned of all parasitic plants that consume part of the juice and give it a disease known in France as ringworm.
  • 5th, the last operation consists of clearing the rows and extending the branches, arranging them in such a way that they all enjoy the vivifying action of the sun.

Ledru, in the scientific mission in 1796 also leaves us a record of how and when the harvest was carried out: 
"The harvest is generally done in July or August. Once harvested, the grapes are taken to the press, built roughly like those in France. There it is stepped on, and when the first must has flowed, the grape harvester surrounds the pomace with a rope of reed and covers it with logs that are tightly tightened with a screw in order to squeeze all the liquid it contains from the cluster. Often the owners add brandy to the wine in sufficient quantity to clarify it, increase its strength and keep it for a long time. Sometimes they also put red wine in it to color it”.
The Lagar or Wine Press in Garachico

Focusing on the trade of this product, James Cook (1776) -who curiously states that a species of grapes from Tenerife is considered an excellent remedy against consumption- describes it as “quite considerable, since there are produced forty thousand pipes of wine [The term comes from the Portuguese word for barrel, pipa. A pipe is a large, lengthy barrel with tapered ends, and the sizes vary quite a bit - anywhere from 350 to over 600 liters], which are consumed on the island or turned into aguardiente, which is sent to the Spanish islands of the new world ”.

Although it may seem so, this calculation is not exaggerated, if we take into account the data provided by Olas, for whom the inhabitants of Tenerife exported fifteen thousand pipes of wine and brandy annually; adding that in the last census, preceding his trip, there were no fewer than 96,000 inhabitants on the island. Thirty years had passed since then and it can reasonably be assumed that the population had increased greatly. Thus, the quantity of wine consumed by a population of at least ten thousand people must rise to several thousand pipes, and the liquor factories have to use another very considerable quantity, since it takes five or six pipes to make one of liquor.

As for wine prices, they logically vary according to the dates, so we will limit ourselves to mentioning that foreigners had to pay a price considerably higher than that of the island's inhabitants. On the other hand, merchants had to pay high tariffs to export our wine, as Feuillée (1724) points out: “The King of England greatly protects the trade of his subjects in the Canaries, showing interest, since he demands from them the payment of considerable fees for the entry of wine into England. The fee for each pipe is twelve pounds sterling. It is estimated that more than ten thousand pipes enter each year, so the King earns more than the wine owners (…) 

The King of Spain's income in the Canary Islands is very considerable. He is responsible for six percent of all merchandise that enters or leaves the Islands ”. The Canarian trade experienced one of its most critical and expansive moments in the XVII Century, with the export of its wines to England, but in the second half of the century, the British considered a balance of payments increasingly favorable to the islands, as detrimental to their interests. Thus, they tried to restructure it and orient it towards their benefit through monopolization by the Compañía de Canarias.
The Compañía de Canarias (Canary Company) was a privileged English company founded in 1665 with the aim of acquiring Canarian wines at low prices, establishing a monopoly on trade with the islands. The reluctance of the Canarian authorities to negotiate with the company, the opposition of English merchants outside the company and the illegality of its monopolistic status led to its disappearance in 1667.
To finish, we cannot forget the most playful -and for many the most interesting- aspect of wine, that which produces a strange and contagious joy imbued by spirited vapors, according to some, released by the god Bacchus and culminating in the "exaltation of friendship". Edward Barlow (1668) tells us: 
“After disembarking we went to a tavern to drink wine (…). This wine is considered throughout Europe as the best of its kind, being called Jerez Canario. We drank it with great enthusiasm in two or three places, as it is very good and palatable; and not being used to having such a good drink, it went to my head before I knew it; In spite of everything, it is of such good quality that it does not make anyone sick, which means that you can drink as much as your stomach allows ”.

Hablamos de los vinos de Tenerife y los viajeros I, II, III, IV

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Guardians of the sceptre of Carnival Queen

The candidates who will participate in the show have already received the sceptre.

Some details are emerging of plans for Carnival 2021 in Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Although it has already been announced that carnival 2021 is cancelled, it was also declared that there would be one carnival gala. Now we have some idea of the format this may take. 

Only the queens already proclaimed in the last twenty years of the Santa Cruz Carnival will be able to aspire to become "Guardians of the Sceptre", to be chosen in the unique show, the format of which, director Enrique Camacho is already working on. It's proposed that from among ten adults, five junior and five senior queens, one each will be selected to guard the scepter until Carnival 2022, with Carnival 2021 being considered as transitional. 

The show format, to be tailored for television - without a live audience to comply with COVID-19 measures to avoid contagion - will possibly be based on a succession of recorded performances of the queens of the last twenty editions. Also the three guardians - one per modality - will be chosen at the gala by telephone vote from the public.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Icod without the Tablas de San Andrés

Arrastre de las tablas in Icod de los Vinos Photo: Revista BienMeSabe Some rights reserved

Authorities ask residents, for the first time in history, not to observe the tradition

Yet another covid casualty, as Icod de los Vinos is to be without it's tradition of the arrastre de las tablas or Tablas de San Andrés - where youngsters hurtle down the town's vertiginous streets on makeshift sleds on the eve of St Andrew's Day, 29 November. 

Mayor of Icod de los Vinos, Francis González (CC), has asked locals, for the first time in history, not to observe the tradition of arrastre de las tablas for the the festival of San Andrés. The restrictions imposed by the coronavirus pandemic on the island of Tenerife currently, force the council to ask residents and visitors to put away their boards and not slide down the steep streets of the municipality at least until November 2021.

The council doesn't directly organise this popular tradition, but it does facilitate it by closing streets and installing lighting and protective elements in the areas of greatest risk, where many used tires are piled up. This year, due to Covid-19, the council has been forced to eliminate all these measures and to ask, publicly, that no one put themselves at risk on streets that will continue to be open to traffic and without the usual security measures.

González acknowledged that it has been a very difficult decision as mayor and "as an Icodean who still gets out his board every year to slide." He assures that, after holding at least three local security meetings, and several meetings with other groups in the municipality, they had worked until the last moment to find alternatives that would allow maintaining the tradition in November 2020, "but it has been impossible."

The mayor urges residents "not to be tempted to pick up a board and slide".

Local Police, Civil Guard and the Canary Police will carry out special controls on key days, especially November 29 and 30, to enforce this prohibition on celebrating the popular festivities. The staff of the Icod de los Vinos Council will also carry out rounds to remove any tires that may be placed, without authorization, in the streets. “It is usual that when we put out the tyres, some more appear that young people keep in lots, orchards and classrooms, but this year all those that are in public spaces will be removed. We will be vigilant so that conditions are not created that endanger public safety and health”, warned González.

Icod de los Vinos Council will launch messages in the coming days through the media and social networks to raise awareness, especially among the youngest, that "this year San Andrés cannot be celebrated as usual."

Sunday, November 22, 2020

The 2020 Christmas Season in Tenerife

Christmas delicacies on display in a La Laguna shop window

Christmas everywhere is going to look substantially different this year. The pandemic has changed our way of life; our daily routine is subject to rules and new restrictions; social contact with family, friends, colleagues and neighbors is reduced, where even a hug or a kiss has become a health risk; where capacity in shops, restaurants or cafeterias is limited and opening hours are reduced. It is bound to have a profound impact on Christmas. 

Here are some of the ways Christmas 2020 is going to look a bit different in Tenerife.

Christmas Lights

Arona has this week already turned on its Christmas lights with 1,690 decorations distributed in 28 neighborhoods of the municipality, to brighten up the streets of the neighborhoods of the municipality a bit, all with LED lights, more sustainable and lower consumption.

With regard to the upcoming Christmas holiday, mayor José Manuel Bermúdez, assured that Santa Cruz will have lighting and events appropriate to the circumstances, as well as the Three Wise Men, "although not in the same way [as usual]." The Christmas lights are being illuminated during the discount Black Week at the end of November.

La Laguna is to maintain Christmas lighting and decoration. To help maintain the typical magic of the holidays, the company in charge of public lighting in the municipality, Effico, has been installing Christmas lighting since the end of September, which this year has 2,500 ornamental motifs to be distributed among the six districts. 

In the Calle Heraclio, they are installing a 15-meter tree and 20 tunnel-effect light tubes along the road to attract visitors and consumers. The authorities are working on an alternative to the traditional lighting of Christmas lights and are studying an option to celebrate this popular act with the maximum security guarantees against COVID-19. 

La Laguna has also designed a pedestrian circuit in the busiest streets of the historic center to avoid crowds during the Christmas season, with limitations for vehicles, that currently only take place at weekends, becoming permanent until the festivities end. 

A neighbours' association in Granadilla is urging the council to create an online shopping platform, to compete with large companies, to bring local products to consumers. 

Route of the Nativities

The traditional La Laguna nativity scene contest is canceled this year due to COVID-19.

The Department of Culture and the nativity scene creators have formed a working group to be a cultural reference in the Canary Islands, with improvements planned for next year already. In particular, they are proposing a banner, to create a universal image and mark the the location of these displays. A list and a map will be published with the location of all the nativity scenes. People will be able to obtain stamps as they complete the route and, at the end, a raffle will be held among those who have completed the itinerary.

In addition, in order to contribute to the dissemination of the tradition, despite the circumstances, the nativity scenes of La Laguna will be able to participate in a video that will be used as a promotion for the Nativity Scene Contest next year.

Christmas Concert

The Port Authority of Santa Cruz de Tenerife has decided to cancel the XXVIII edition of the Christmas Concert, which would have been held on the night of December 25. It will be the first time that this Christmas event, held every year since 1994, has been cancelled. Normally, it has brought together thousands of people in the port of Tenerife to enjoy the best classical music live by the Tenerife Symphony Orchestra.

Los Reyes

Covid-19 leaves Santa Cruz without The Three Kings in the Heliodoro Rodríguez López Stadium. However, Fiestas is preparing four cavalcades for the Kings to tour the city. On 5 January, their Majesties will arrive, by helicopter, to the port in Santa Cruz, where they will be handed the keys to the houses of all of the children in the city and then there will be four parades, visiting all five districts of the city, passing through as many streets as possible in Santa Cruz, so that the spectacle can be seen from balconies and from the rooftops. 

The Three Wise Men will also visit the six districts of La Laguna, despite the health crisis. The Department of Festivities prepares the tours of Their Majesties "in a format that avoids crowds" and adjusted to the safety regulations against COVID-19. Unlike previous years, the idea is for the Three Wise Men to visit the families on January 5, touring each of the six districts, and not doing their traditional parade through the Old Town.

In Los Realejos too, the town hall has come to an agreement with The Three Kings, so that, for the first time, they will visit all of the districts of the municipality on 5 January.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Become an assistant to the Magi of the East

Three Kings Illustration: Image by Alejandra Jimenez from Pixabay

The council of Santiago del Teide, in collaboration with charity, Cáritas Diocesana de Canarias, has launched an initiative Conviértete en ayudante de los Reyes Magos de Oriente (Become an assistant to the Three Wise Men of the East), by which those who so wish can sponsor a child's letter to the Three Wise Men, via the Council's Social Services, thus helping to give them hope and happiness typical of these magical dates for the little ones. Anyone who wants to be part of this initiative has until November 27 to contact Social Services, by phone 922 86 31 27, Ext. 200.

In similar vein, the council of Guía de Isora is launching their campaign, "Únete a la magia de la Navidad" (Join the magic of Christmas) looking for people who can sponsor a letter to the Magi written by one of the youngsters of the most needy families in that municipality. Registration is open until December 18, in person and through the internet. Telephone 922 850 100 extensions 3213, 3211 or 3219 and via email menor@guiadeisora.org

In a particularly complicated year for families everywhere, every gesture helps.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Christmas in Santa Cruz starts on the 23rd with ‘Black Week’ and switching on the Christmas lights on Thursday 26th

Lights in the Calle Bethencourt Alfonso, Santa Cruz

More than 250 businesses have, so far, joined the discount campaign, which will begin next Monday and will last until the 30th of this month, with the aim of rescuing the sector from the debacle caused by the COVID pandemic

The commerce sector has all its hopes on the Christmas and Three Kings campaign to recover some of what COVID-19 has taken away from them in this fateful 2020. No revitalization in the streets, with control of capacity and with an island still on red alert due to the spread of the pandemic, the celebration of Black Week, a week of discounts in the, for now, 250 businesses that have signed up for it in Santa Cruz, shows the desire of businesses to start the Christmas campaign in style.

This initiative was presented at the Santa Cruz Town Hall, on Tuesday, which will take place from 23 to 30 this month. The Consistory, in addition to providing support in marketing this week of discounts, will coincide the lighting of Christmas lights with the final part of the week, on Thursday 26th. The mayor of Santa Cruz, José Manuel Bermúdez, explained that “we are aware of the difficulties that the commercial sector is going through, hence we are promoting a campaign that goes beyond a day or a weekend and stressed that it is the fourth edition of an initiative that coincides with the celebration of Black Friday worldwide.

Councilor for Fiestas, Alfonso Cabello, stressed that “Black Week Santa Cruz is the starting signal for the Christmas campaign, one of the most important dates for the commercial sector" and added that, "according to a recent study by Deloitte, the accessories and gifts sector invoices between November and January between 50% and 60% of all annual sales, so it is the most important campaign of the year”. He also recalled that the commercial sector employs almost 22,000 people.

La Navidad en Santa Cruz arranca el día 23 con la ‘Black Week’ y el encendido de luces el 26

Thursday, November 19, 2020

First Maid of Honour to the Junior Carnival Queen in Santa Cruz de Tenerife 2020

First Maid of Honour 2020

First Maid of Honour to the Junior Carnival Queen in Santa Cruz de Tenerife 2020 is Allegra Sebbe Repeto with a costume entitled ‘¿Jugamos?’ (Shall we play?), designed by Borja Abreu and represeting La Santa, Tasca Aquí y Ahora and Marisquería Nicomedes.

There will be no Carnival in Santa Cruz de Tenerife in 2021, although the City Council is working with the Carnival groups in the design of some activities that can maintain the spirit of the festivities during the weeks in which it should have been celebrated

Allegra Sebbe Repetto | Gala Reina Infantil | S/C Tenerife 2020

Tenerife Wines Tasting 16-30 November

One of the traditions observed around San Andrés (St Andrew's Day) in November in Tenerife, are the Catas del Vino: the opening of the new wine. In previous years there have been events such as a Semana de San Andrés - a whole week of events such as technical conferences, workshops, tastings and guided routes through Denominations of Origin in addition to the traditional act of uncorking

This year, between 16 and 30 NovemberLa Casa del Vino de Tenerife (Tenerife Wine Museum), is offering Degustación de Vinos de Tenerife (Tenerife Wines Tasting) - along with other local products, such as cheeses, dried fruits, olive oil, honey and jams. 

Contact the Casa del Vino for more information and to book.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Top 10 Carnivals of the World

Nine of the Top 10 Carnivals of the World

Researching Carnivals of the World for this series has been eye-opening to discover so many more carnivals worldwide than we could ever have imagined. Carnival in Santa Cruz de Tenerife 2021 was cancelled because of the pandemic, with only a tribute gala and some audiovisual events to come under the chosen theme of Carnivals of the World. Nevertheless, we've continued to take a tour of the parties (we've been to Notting HillNiceVeniceRio de JaneiroCádizSanta Cruz de La Palma and Cologne), because it's provided a pleasant diversion from the problems we face currently. Any list is bound to be subjective, but here's a look at just ten of them: some we knew and some we didn't.

Tenerife Topics

Adeje Almond Flower Route April in Tenerife Arafo Arico Arona Auditorio de Tenerife August in Tenerife Buenavista del Norte Canarian Cuisine Canaries Day Candelaria Carnival 2004 Carnival 2005 Carnival 2006 Carnival 2007 Carnival 2008 Carnival 2009 Carnival 2010 Carnival 2011 Carnival 2012 Carnival 2013 Carnival 2014 Carnival 2015 Carnival 2016 Carnival 2017 Carnival 2018 Carnival 2019 Carnival 2020 Carnival 2021 Carnival 2022 Carnival Queen Santa Cruz Carnivals of the World Chinyero Christmas in Tenerife Christopher Columbus Comparsas Corpus Christi COVID-19 Craft Fairs December in Tenerife Easter in Tenerife El Rosario El Sauzal El Tanque Epidemics in Tenerife Farmers Markets Fasnia February in Tenerife Fiestas El Palmar Flavours of Christmas Garachico Granadilla de Abona Guía de Isora Güímar History of Carnival History of Tenerife Icod de los Vinos Innocent Saints January in Tenerife July in Tenerife June in Tenerife Junior Carnival Queen La Guancha La Matanza de Acentejo La Orotava La Victoria Las Burras de Güímar Los Cristianos Los Cristianos Carnival Los Gigantes Los Gigantes Carnival Los Indianos Los Realejos Los Reyes Los Silos March in Tenerife May in Tenerife Municipal Holidays Municipalities Fiestas Nelson's Attack on Santa Cruz 25 Jul 1797 November in Tenerife October in Tenerife Public Holidays Puerto de la Cruz Puerto de la Cruz Carnival Recipes for All Saints Day Romerías San Andrés San Antonio Abad San Cristóbal de La Laguna San Juan de la Rambla San Miguel de Abona Santa Cruz de Tenerife Santa Cruz de Tenerife Carnival Santa Cruz de Tenerife Carnival Themes Santa Úrsula Santiago del Teide Senior Carnival Queen September in Tenerife Simón Bolívar Tacoronte Tegueste Tenerife Carnival Dates Tenerife Disaster Tenerife Fire Tenerife Month by Month Tenerife Museums tenerife prostitution sex escorts Tenerife Rally Tenerife Weather Tenerife Wines Teno Rural Park This Is Tenerife (TIT) Traditional Fiestas Tropical Storm Delta Vilaflor