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Thursday, August 13, 2015

Ceremony of the discovery of the Virgin of Candelaria



August 15th, Assumption, is the patronal feast of the Canary Islands, celebrated in the town of Candelaria where the patron of the Canary Islands, Nuestra Señora de Candelaria (The Virgin of Candelaria or Our Lady of Candelaria) resides in her Basilica of Candelaria.

Many will be making a pilgrimage to the shrine today and tomorrow and the actual veneration takes the form of various processions and floral offerings on Saturday (Romería y Ofrenda Floral - Virgen de Candelaria 2014), but the most popular part of the annual celebrations is the reenactment of the discovery of the figure, which takes place in the Plaza outside the Basilica on Friday, 14th August from 7:30pm to 8:30pm.

The ceremony is televised each year by TelevisiónCanaria and here is a video from last year:



Legend and appearance

According to a legend recorded by Alonso de Espinosa in 1594, a statue of the Virgin Mary, bearing a child in one hand and a green candle in the other (hence "Candelaria"), was discovered on the beach of Chimisay (Güímar) by two Guanche goatherds in 1392. This was before the Castilian conquest of the island (the island was not fully conquered until 1496).

One of the shepherds tried to throw a stone at the statue, but his arm became paralyzed; the other tried to stab the statue with a knife but ended up stabbing himself. The statue was taken by the local Guanche mencey, Acaymo, to the cave of Chinguaro.

The more than 200 year old reenactment ceremony is very, very popular though, so you'd be advised to expect total bedlam, as Jack Montgomery advises in Celebrating the Virgin of Candelaria on Tenerife. If you read his account, however, I'm sure you'll agree that it will be worth it.

You can download the program for these fiestas here and will see that the reenactment ceremony is followed by a nocturnal procession of the icon from 8:30pm to 11:30pm and the ubiquitous firework display.

Via: Fiestas Patronales of the Lady of Candelaria

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