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Friday, July 31, 2015

Something for the weekend: Garachico tyre burning fiesta


We have to thank for prompting me to research this weekend's star event. Of course it isn't really called the Garachico tyre burning fiesta, which she coined, but we think it's a brilliantly accurately descriptive, attention grabbing title and don't understand why that isn't yet official. Actually called the Fuegos del Risco (Cliff Face Fires), which, as is explained in this article in El Dia, Una erupción festiva cada cinco años, these have evolved from pineapples in wooden barrels through dried corncobs soaked in petrol and diesel; sackcloth balls and on occasion, burning tyres

They point out that a small group of people is responsible for setting the lava slopes of Garachico aglow once again at a point close to where the ancient port was located. With logistical support from the town council, they reactivate the fury of the Trevejo volcano (or Montaña Negra - Black Mountain), which destroyed the port of Garachico in 1706, with the help of fireworks and glowing balls rolling down the slope. In the dark of night, the incandescent objects falling down the hillside recreate the effect of a volcanic eruption.

It promises to be a spectacular display and this is on Sunday night, 2nd August at 10pm.

But get there early, because last time, in 2010, it apparently expected a crowd of 35,000.  

Los Fuegos del Risco 2010 or the Night Garachico Burned



What I don't understand is why these are celebrated every 5 years on the 0s and 5s, when the volcanic eruption was in 1706 - i.e. they can never fall on an anniversary and, indeed, why it takes place in August, when the eruption was in May. No doubt someone, has an explanation for these seeming anomalies, but does it matter? Do you really need a valid excuse to "celebrate" a 309 year old disaster by rolling burning tyres down a hillside? I think not! 

It's just part of the Fiestas Lustrales y de San Roque 2015 in honour of the Santísimo Cristo de la Misericordia (Holy Christ of Mercy) and San Roque, which are being held from July 23rd to August 2nd (and actually on to the Romería de San Roque on August 16th, of which more later.) The origins of the fiestas date back to 1659; the first time the firework spectacular appeared under the name of the Fuegos del Risco was in 1922, although it was already celebrated in some form in 1881.

Other attractions this weekend include the DESFILE DE CARROZAS ALEGÓRICAS (Parades of Allegorical Floats) that take place on Saturday, 1st August at 10pm and on Sunday, 2nd August at 6pm. These are six floats, authentic works of art that require months of work. Residents of all ages work on these making hundreds of thousands of paper flowers, and elements in wood, cork or paper. And as pictures are worth thousands of words, take a look here Desfile de carrozas y Fuegos del Risco en Garachico at the images of the floats from 2010 to see what's in store.

The program for these fiestas runs to 36 pages and is well worth a download (PDF) as it's a work of art in itself and contains many more images of the fireworks, the floats and more.

Fiestas Lustrales y de San Roque 2015 en Garachico

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