Thursday, December 01, 2005

Christmas in the Canary Islands

Spain, the Canary Islands and especially Tenerife, have EVERYTHING when it comes to Christmas; El Gordo, the biggest lottery in the world held every year on December 22nd; a host of natural Christmas decorations like poinsettias growing wild, particularly on the north of the island, forests of Canary pine "Christmas trees" in the mountains and it may even include a proper "White Christmas" if it snows on Mount Teide.

Christmas week is acknowledged as the busiest week of the year for the tourist sector, with hotels and airports registering new record numbers each year as millions of Northern Europeans escape the cold to spend the holidays in one of the "Top 10 Winter Sun Spots".

British restaurants in the tourist resorts do serve turkey dinners with all the trimmings, which is probably just as well for visitors, because Christmas Day isn't celebrated much here. Christmas Eve is the family get-together, New Year is more lively, but if you want to see the "real" Canarian Christmas, you need to hang around until January 5th / 6th.

The Christmas season in Tenerife lasts from December 8th, when, traditionally, the decorations go up, until January 6th, when the Three Kings bring gifts.