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Sunday, January 22, 2006

Fiestas of San Antonio Abad

Bandstand in Buenavista del Norte dressed for San Antonio Abad

The Fiestas of San Antonio Abad are held in January - Saint Anthony's Day is the 17th - each year and these fiestas can be found in various towns in Tenerife, such Arona, Los Silos, La Florida in La Orotava and in Buenavista del Norte.

Even though the actual Saints Day is only on one day, the fiesta is celebrated over the entire week. San Antonio Abad is the patron Saint of a diverse selection of subjects which range from animals all the way through to various skin diseases. It's the animal part that provides the focus of the fiesta.

People bring their animals, mostly livestock, but also a goodly number of pets these days, down from the villages in order to have them blessed. Hundreds of them first gather on open ground, then parade down the main streets of the town.

I have it on authority that if one registers one's animal(s) in advance with the Town Hall, then they get a number and after the parade, some sort of gift, such as a trophy or even money.

The most striking result of this event is that by mid-afternoon the streets are literally carpeted, knee deep in something that would probably be very good for the roses!