After more than 20 years, posts here will now only be occasional (see why) for big events such as Tenerife Carnaval, so please "Like" and follow our Facebook Page because that's where to see future updates.

Christmas Eve Traditions in Tenerife

Church of Our Lady of the Consolation in El Palmar

The main celebrations in the Canary Islands, as in most European countries, are on Nochebuena (Christmas Eve), when the family get together to share an evening meal. Food revolves around the sweet treats, with Truchas de Batata (sweet potato pies) plus fruit, nuts and a huge array of seasonal sweets.

For many years I spent Christmas Eve, Nochebuena, in 'El Pueblo' (the village), Canarian style. The typical fayre, generally, is barbecued meat with boiled potatoes. Yams are usually eaten after the meal, sweetened with sugar or honey (palm honey is good too). If resources permit, a whole goat kid or suckling pig is preferable as tradition dictated that this meal should not be of fish. For many poor families here, Christmas Eve is one of the few celebration times when they will have any quantity of meat, so it is very simply prepared and quickly enjoyed.

Celebrations may go on quite late and the gathered family will probably start singing and playing Canarian Folk music. This isn't traditionally a time for the exchanging of gifts: traditionally, that comes later, at Epiphany, although the fortunate few kids may get some gifts from Santa now and the rest from The Kings later, as it gives them time to play with toys during the holidays.

Long ago the Christmas Eve meal was served after attending the Misa de Gallo (Midnight Mass): the 24th being a day of fasting and abstinence, but that has tended to change these days. The mass, at which carols may be sung, being left out altogether by a large majority. In Los Cristianos and other multi-nationally populated areas, there are usually carol services in a wonderful pot-purri of Spanish, English, German and Latin. In smaller villages, local children perform the Nativity (often with humorous interpretation), while folk groups provide the accompaniment. One year at El Palmar, the dialogue translated, roughly:

Joseph: (to innkeeper) "Can we come in, only my wife isn't feeling too good?"

Innkeeper: "Well, if she's ill she can't come in here. Take her to the health centre!

I don't remember that being in the original version. It was truly unexpected and had everyone rolling in the isles at the Nativity in the little church.

Tenerife Land of Eternal Christmas

Sunbathing SantaDesert Island ChristmasScuba Diving SantaTropical Santa
Santa's Having a Whale of a TimeSurfing SantaWaterski SantaCamel Rodeo Santa
With a wide range of products in each design, click the pics (above) to see the full selections.