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Monday, May 01, 2006

Fiestas de Mayo in Tenerife

Today is Labour Day, the Easter holidays weren't far back and, neither was the Carnaval, but celebrations are in full swing, yet again, in the Tenerife capital (and other parts of the island), for the Fiestas de Mayo (May Festival) that mark the founding of the city in 1494.

Conqueror of Tenerife, Alonso Fernández de Lugo, planted a cross on the beach where Santa Cruz (the name means Holy Cross) now stands, which gave the name to the town. That very cross is kept in the church, Iglesia de La Concepción and is brought out for the processions for the Day of the Cross on May 3rd.

The Fiestas de Mayo also have an important baile de magos (dance in traditional dress), held on the night of May 2. In 1999, this street party entered into the Guinness Book of Records for the largest number of diners in the open air.

This year, there were thirty-two entrants for the coveted title of Reina de las Fiestas de Mayo, or Queen of the May Festival.

Los Realejos, known as the Spanish municipality with the most fiestas because there is one being celebrated in any one of its various districts all 365 days of the year, also celebrates Día de la Cruz or Fiestas de la Cruz in a pretty big way.

The firework display on the night of the 3rd - performed by the Los Realejos firm of Hermanos Toste is considered one of the best in Europe. Hermanos Toste was formed in Los Realejos, under the name of Pirotecnia Teide, in 1788 by Marcos Toste del Castillo. They still use artisan methods of manufacturing their prize-winning fireworks and the family tradition is passed from generation to generation.

All events are liable to change beyond our control.

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