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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Carnaval Monday's Electronic Fiesta

Real el Canario Santa Cruz town hall may have announced that it was trimming down the budget for the 2009 Carnaval, but that certainly hasn't stopped organizers from innovating, or from attracting world-class acts to perform in the city.

On the night of Carnaval Monday, February 23rd, 2009 - traditionally one of the biggest party nights, as it's the eve of the Shrove Tuesday main parade (and a holiday in the city) - there is to be an open-air electronic music fiesta.

Among DJs are; Puerto de la Cruz born, Dutch resident, forerunner of the eclectic sound, Real el Canario (pictured), along with four iconic US acts; DJ Craze, Ron Carroll, Armand Van Helden and the legendary (at least in Ibiza) Roger Sánchez.

Map image

Taking place in the central Plaza de La Candelaria in Tenerife's capital city, the town hall are hopeful that this fiesta will be as successful as last year's hugely popular Carnaval de Día (Daytime Carnaval) held on the Domingo de Piñata (Piñata Sunday), when the Orishas, Edwin Rivera and Billos Caracas Boys, among others, performed in five locations around the city.

This year's lineup will be historic: in that the five have never performed together before and, is aimed at 18 to 38 year olds (or those who just act / feel like it), bringing a mixture of mostly hip-hop, house and progressive house styles to Carnaval. I reckon it should help ensure Santa Cruz stays on the map.

And the best part about this immense, more than seven hour long open-air disco spectacular, boys and girls, is that whole thing is free.

Carnaval 2009 in Tenerife

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There's bearly a month to go until Carnaval 2009 kicks off in Santa Cruz, so we thought we'd better list a few dates for your social diary.

These are provisional and based on the regular annual schedule; thus are subject to last minute change, the whims of the weather, etc.

103099081_b242c79859Wednesday, 18th February: Gala for the Election of the Carnival Queen 2009. Usually televised too, often internationally, if you have satellite.

Friday, 20th February: Proclamatory Parade in the evening.

Tuesday, 24th February: The main parade or "Coso Apotheosis" of Carnival (more photos) (starts around 4 pm).

Wednesday, 25th February: Attend the blasphemous and pornographic family entertainment night (really), known as the Burial of the Sardine.

Sunday, 1st March: Piñata Sunday, when a parade of beautiful vintage cars starts from the Calle La Noria, in the old part of Santa Cruz.

Puerto de la Cruz Carnaval

2253959641_f8e07b5186The main parade of Carnaval in Puerto de la Cruz should be taking place on Saturday, February 28th.

For more information on what goes on for Carnaval in Puerto, including their annual High Heels Marathon (for blokes, naturally), see Andrea Montgomery's article here.

Carnaval Elsewhere in Tenerife

There are usually Carnival events of varying size in lots of towns and villages on the island, including; Candelaria, Garachico, Güimar, Tacoronte, Guía de Isora, La Guancha and San Miguel de Abona, but the two largest that you are most likely to run into if you're visiting the island are probably:

Los Gigantes 5th – 9th Mar 2009
Los Cristianos 7th – 16th Mar 2009

Thanks to Los Gigantes.com for the additional dates.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Fiestas of San Antonio Abad 2009

We know that Christmas is only just finished, the sales have only just begun and the Carnaval is only just round the corner, but we're sure you can find a spare couple of seconds in between to go to one of the annual San Antonio Abad fiestas that are coming up this month in Tenerife.

The actual Saint's day for San Antonio Abad (Saint Anthony Abbot, a.k.a. Anthony the Great) is on January 17th, but based on past experience and last year's dates, this fiesta should be taking place in Los Silos on Sunday, January 18th, 2009 and in Buenavista del Norte on Sunday, January 25th, 2009.

We also know it colloquially as the Festival of Animal Poo, because the good saint looks after animals and this means that everyone brings their cattle, horses, flocks of goats and sheep, dogs ... (as well as rabbits, birds, snakes and all manner of exotic things), to town to be blessed. And the sheer numbers of them, means that the animals "bless" the town streets with rather a lot of "fertilizer." Last year there were 1,500 cattle trudging around the streets in Buenavista, so you can imagine how much. In Los Silos, they also have a crafts fair in the plaza.

Romería of San Antonio Abad

San Antonio Abad is also venerated / celebrated in the town of Arona, where he's the town patron too and they hold the first Romería * of the year, which this year will be held on Sunday, January 18th, 2009.

It's only a short bus or car ride from the southern resorts. Tenerife Tourism Corporation say, "This procession and fiesta is the second oldest in the district and takes places on the second or third Sunday of January. Wagons pulled by oxen and decorated carts, together with folk music groups maintain the atmosphere of this important local tradition in this southern town."

On the Saturday, there's a Gala to choose the fiesta queen and a large open air party with live music. Arona also holds a crafts fair on the Sunday.

Fiestas de San Antonio Abad - Arona, Tenerife

(* The Wikipedia explanation that "A Romería in Spanish or "Romaria" in Portuguese is a religious pilgrimage", doesn't quite cut it. They're right that the celebrations often last all day, or while there's enough food and booze. :)

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Crown of Kings / Roscón de Reyes

Crown of Kings / Roscón de Reyes Roscón de Reyes (Crown of Kings) from Pasteleria El Aderno (they really are the best) that is the traditional desert for January 6th. Roscón recipe here.

"So, what's so special about the roscon? Well, there are usually surprises inside the roscon. Traditionally, the baker wraps a porcelain figure of a baby in aluminum foil and a haba or dry bean and places them in the dough just before baking. Whoever finds the baby in their piece will have good luck and be the king of the party, while whoever finds the haba must pay for the roscon. In Spanish, the saying is: “Si es el haba lo encontrado, el Roscon pagaras; mas si ello es la figura, coronado y Rey seras…”, Lisa Sierra explains.

In fact, in all the roscones I'd had from the Pasteleria El Aderno, in Tenerife, you'd find a whole set of three porcelain figures, of the Three Kings.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Tenerife's Oldest Three Kings Parade

The commentary on this short video made in Garachico  in 2008, tells you (in Spanish) that the town's Three Kings Parade is the oldest known one celebrated on the island. It's also recognized as the most spectacular and colourful in Tenerife, lasting more than 3 hours, as the procession stops to perform small works of street theatre all along the route to reenact the familiar story.

The Three Kings from the West ...

Starting from the Quinta Roja manor house (built by the Marquis in the early 1600s),  set among banana plantations the Three Kings travel through the village of San Pedro de Daute and down into Garachico from the west - the opposite direction from the traditional one - making this something of a novelty too. 

A possibly Egyptian standard bearer. Accompanying the Three Kings  mounted on camels are; pages, Roman soldiers, torch bearers, Roman guards on horseback and standard bearers ...

As they approach the San Miguel castle, which has been converted into Herod's residence for the day, they're spotted by the vigilant guards on the battlements who sound their trumpets.

The Three Kings then dismount and ready themselves to meet with Herod.

Hummm ... a market stall in Bethlehem, behind which is a stable and beyond is where the shepherds roast their socks. Once on their way again, the Three Kings make their procession along the Calle Esteban de Ponte and other streets of the town, to eventually return to the plaza Glorieta de San Francisco, where the live nativity has been set up in front of the Los Angeles church, the town hall has been dressed up as a palace for the kings, with a fancy facade, canopies and three thrones. Even the frontage of the former San Francisco convent has had faux battlements added to it for the day.

Faux battlements on the facade of the former Franciscan convent.

These well-rehearsed events follow a similar format every year, with a live reenactment of the entire Christmas story that usually employs a varying number of real live animals (that don't always do what's expected of them) and a cast of, well, several dozen.

The whole show is brought to a climax with a huge firework display, after which the three kings START their job of dishing out gifts to hundreds of kids, as pages call out their names.

As we detailed before, the Three Kings start their journey at around 7 p.m., reaching the main town for the meeting with Herod at around 9 p.m. The rest of the procession and show takes at least another couple of hours, so it's a real value for money - especially since it's free - night out for all the family.

Cafetería y Dulcería Avenida, Tomé Cano, S/N. Garachico (Tenerife). Tel: 922 830 954 Do get there early if you're going by car and want to park anywhere near the town. Another thing Garachico lacks are restaurants that open in the evening where you could while away your time whilst you're waiting for the procession, but the best vantage point is the Cafetería y Dulcería Avenida, opposite the castle anyway.

Apart from serving you a drink or a coffee  (as well as sandwiches, snacks and cakes), you'll be within sniffing distance of the camels once the Three Kings arrive, as they dismount on that side of the tree-lined island in the road!

This is the other great advantage to the event in Garachico, it's big enough to be spectacular, is done to a professionally high standard and draws a relatively large crowd, but it's still small enough to be intimate, so you feel part of it.

There aren't many other places, in Tenerife or elsewhere, where the kings still arrive authentically on camels (in many places it's on floats); not everywhere has the perfect selection of old architecture for the various locations either, which, along with being the oldest, combines to make Garachico's Three Kings Parade the best on the island, if not in the whole of Spain, in my humble opinion.

Images from Los Reyes in Garachico 2007, about which there is more here.

If you don't make it to the parade for this year, why not book ahead for next? The date of this celebration doesn't change - it is always held on the eve of Epiphany; the night of January 5th. If you stay at the Hotel La Quinta Roja, ask for a room at the front of the hotel, overlooking the plaza Glorieta de San Francisco and you'll have "ringside seat" to watch the entire event from your own room.

Cavalcades of Kings throughout Tenerife

we_three_kings On Monday, January 5th, there'll be Three Kings Parades in every major town (and a few minor ones too) on the island. For the kids it may be, but there's not a child under 99 who isn't currently excited at the prospect of the imminent arrival of Los Reyes and, secretly hoping that they'll bring them something. So it isn't a case of whether you go to see a Three Kings Parade, it's to which one.

As Andrea Montgomery says, "It might seem strange to those of us who are used to handing over gifts on the 25th December, but if you think about it, it makes more sense to hand over gifts on the same day as the three wise men bestowed their gifts on the baby Jesus."

Whilst the big spectacle in the football ground in the capital, Santa Cruz, will undoubtedly be the biggest, there's bound to be a parade close enough to wherever you are and you may prefer to choose from any of these listed:

Adeje: Starts at 7.30 p.m in the Calle Grande (main street) up in the town. The parade will have floats, Disney characters and lots of other surprises, as well as the arrival of the Three Kings from the Orient themselves.

Candelaria: Starts 7 p.m. from the Plaza de La Hornilla to Plaza de la Patrona de Canarias (where the Basílica de Candelaria is.)

3158760606_f427d14281Garachico: Victor in Garachico says that an ambassador from the court of the Three Kings visited Garachico about a week ago (to pick up letters / wish lists) and that the Cavalcade of the Kings is not far off, so we know it's planned to take place as in previous years. It's usually advertised as starting at around 7 p.m., but that's the time the "caravan" starts off in the outlying village of San Pedro. They Three Kings generally arrive down to the castle on Garachico's seafront to meet Herod at around 9 p.m., they then parade around the town, ending up in the plaza in front of the town hall for a live nativity, with fireworks to follow.

Granadilla: Their Majesties leave from the church at the top of the town at 6 p.m. , in procession around the main streets of the town centre and later receive the children and dish out gifts in the municipal sports centre.

Guía de Isora: 7 p.m. in procession around the main streets of the town, accompanied by the local town bands, floats, Disney characters ...

Güimar: From the Plaza de Fátima at 6 p.m., together with the Herald Angel and their respective pages, they take the route of; Avenida Venezuela, Calle Beltrán de Lis and the Avenida de Santa Cruz, to end up in the Plaza de San Pedro.

Icod de los Vinos: Starts 7.30 p.m. from the Plaza del Calvario, around the streets of Icod, accompanied by their court. The Herald Angel makes the announcement in the Plaza del Calvario; the kings meet Herod in the Plaza Luis de León Huerta and terminate by adoring the baby Jesus in the live nativity in the Plaza Andrés de Lorenzo Cáceres (by the church, next to the Drago.)

La Guancha: 7.00 p.m. Traditional procession of the Three Kings around the streets of the district to arrive at the church square, where there will be a reenactment of the nativity, after which their Majesties receive the kids.

La Laguna:  For the 7th consecutive year, The Three Kings will arrive at the North Tenerife airport of Los Rodeos, on board an Islas Airways flight. Their ETA is 16:30 hours and, it is hoped that, as in previous years, there will be thousands of kids there to greet them. There is car parking at the old terminal if you wish to go, where, from 4 p.m. onwards, you'll be taken by free bus to meet the kings and be brought back to the terminal again afterwards. Later, at 6.30 p.m. The Three Kings will commence their traditional cavalcade around the historic centre of the city - from the Plaza del Cristo, Nava y Grimón, Consistorio, Herradores, Calle Carrera, on camels, accompanied by floats, marching bands, etc.

Life-size nativity in the plaza in front of the town hall in La Orotava

La Orotava: the Three Kings parade on 5th January, will be leaving from the municipal stadium towards the Plaza del Ayuntamiento at 8 p.m.

La Victoria de Acentejo: Starts at 8 p.m. in the Calle Pérez Díaz.

Los Cristianos (Arona): The procession starts from the esplanade in the port of Los Cristianos at 7.15 p.m. and goes along the Avenida Suecia, to end up in the Plaza de Los Cristianos.

Puerto de la Cruz: As we mentioned before, The Three Kings had asked to be allowed to arrive from the Orient by sea to Puerto de la Cruz this year, so their procession, will start from the old fishing port at around 7 p.m. and, from there, proceed around the Plaza del Charco, Calle La Marina, Calle Santo Domingo to the Plaza de Europa. This year there will be a live reenactment of the Christmas story along the route and they're even installing giant screens at various strategic points so that people can watch the events. (Photos of the parades in Puerto 1999 - 2008, visit Reyesmagosweb and click on Cabalgatas.)

San Miguel de Abona: At 6 p.m. The Three Kings make their offerings to the baby Jesus in the church, after which they tour the main streets of the town, accompanied by bands, Disney characters and more to the cultural centre.

Tegueste:  The Kings' cavalcade starts at 8 p.m., followed by sacramental order of worship by the Holy Magi on the porch and balcony of  the town hall.

Vilaflor: 5.30 p.m., starting from the Church of San Roque to St. Peter's Square where the Adoration of the Magi will take place and, from there to the Recreation Centre where children will deliver their letters to Their Majesties.

As they did for New Year, buses and trams will run all night of the 5th / 6th.

All of these events (with the exception of the one inside the stadium in Santa Cruz, which has a nominal charge made in aid of charity) are FREE.

Friday, January 02, 2009

The Three Kings ... coming to Santa Cruz

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It's almost time for every kid (between the ages of 0 and 99) to get excited about the annual visit of Los Reyes (The Three Kings), who bring the gifts on the eve of the epiphany.

Tickets go on sale on Friday to see the Three Kings arrive - by helicopter - to the Estadio Heliodoro Rodríguez López in Santa Cruz on Monday, January 5th. With 22,486 seats, it'll be the biggest night of the year. Entry costs just one euro (you can donate more if you wish as the money goes to 7 local charities in the city), with a maximum of 6 tickets per person. 

Following the usual program, an hour long show should start at around 5 p.m., the Three Kings arriving in the stadium at 6 p.m. and their cavalcade around Santa Cruz streets beginning from there at 7 p.m., ending up in the Plaza de Candelaria, for Adoration at the nativity at around 8.30 p.m.

It costs nothing to watch the procession through the streets and plazas, of course, which takes the route from the Heliodoro Rodríguez López stadium, through the following streets; San Sebastián, Plaza República Dominicana, Avenida de las Asuncionistas, Ramón y Cajal, Plaza Pedro Schwartz, Galcerán, Méndez Númez, Pilar, Villalba Hervás, La Mariana to the Plaza de España.

The procession of Kings Melchor, Gaspar and Baltasar, includes marching bands, Romans, Jews, pastors, carts full of sweets, horses and flocks of sheep and goats, says this report (as well as probably every Disney & Sesame Street character.)

Events are rounded off with a fireworks display.

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