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Follow The Route of Nativities in Tenerife

From the huge, life-size nativity outside the town hall in La Orotava.

The Nacimiento (Nativity) or Belén (Bethlehem) is the most important of Christmas decorations in Tenerife. In most homes, this is arranged under the tree. Oh, don't expect "historical accuracy" in homes. I've seen both Jedi and Barbie dolls attending the baby Jesus, along with the shepherds and Magi! 

Organized Nativity displays are something else. Town Halls and Associations produce massive works of art each year. Not just stable scenes, but whole Holy model towns - often, inexplicably, depicting the Canarian location they're at - with working windmills, lights & everything! These "Holy Model Villages" full of detail usually reserved for model railways, are fascinating to see and won't be difficult to find, all around the island. It's well worth the trip to visit them. 

In Tenerife's capital, Santa Cruz, there are several famous public Belén displays. 

One, organized by Santa Cruz Town Hall, in the exhibition hall (Aula Magna) of the Cultural Park, Parque Cultural Viera y Clavijo, one year covered 55 square meters with more than 600 hand-made pieces, plus numerous lighting effects and movements, such as the breaking of dawn, nightfall, a storm with winds, thunder and lightening, the apparition of an angel, rivers and canals, the baby crying.

There are specialist belenistas (nativity makers), contests and organised routes to go round and see them; private family nativities (some of which open their homes to the public), then there are regular public nativities in squares, such as the life-size nativity outside the town hall in La Orotava, (see above), in the Plaza de Candelaria in Santa Cruz, in shops and malls, such as La Villa in La Orotava, inside the Cabildo (Tenerife Island Corporation) building in Santa Cruz, in town halls, most churches (of course) and, even hotels.

Not every detail is serious mind you, as this and Jack Montgomery explains.

Most of the nativity displays are available to see from early December, usually until Los Reyes (The Three Kings Day) on January 6th.

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.