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Thursday, September 26, 2019

Senior Carnival Queen Candidate in Santa Cruz 2019 María Dolores Hernández González

Whether looking back once more at Santa Cruz de Tenerife Carnival 2019, or forward towards Santa Cruz de Tenerife Carnival 2020 - which takes place between Friday, 21st February 2020 and Sunday, 1st March 2020 - we can't resist another look at the candidates who aspired to become carnival queens in 2019.

María Dolores Hernández González' costume is entitled, "LA EMPERATRIZ DE ROJO" (EMPRESS OF RED), designed by Víctor Mesa Aguilar, representing Arafo Town Hall.

María Dolores Hernández González | Gala de la reina de los mayores | Carnaval SC Tenerife 2019

Friday, September 20, 2019

Third Junior Maid of Honour in Santa Cruz 2019 Karen Irene Acosta Almenara

Karen Irene Acosta Almenara at the Carnival Main Parade on Tuesday 5 March 2019

Whether looking back once more at Santa Cruz de Tenerife Carnival 2019, or forward towards Santa Cruz de Tenerife Carnival 2020 - which takes place between Friday, 21st February 2020 and Sunday, 1st March 2020 - we can't resist another look at the candidates who aspired to become carnival queens in 2019.

Seven year old Karen Irene Acosta Almenara was Third Maid of Honour to the Junior Carnival Queen in Santa Cruz 2019, with the fantasy "La que ama a su isla" (She who loves her island) , designed by Daniel Pages and representing Carrefour and AA.VV. La Era y el Trigo.

Karen Irene Acosta Almenara | Gala Reina Infantil | Carnaval S/C Tenerife 2019

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Pirates Attack Tenerife

Drake, Blake, Jennings and Nelson all attacked Tenerife

For the annual International Talk Like a Pirate Day (Sep 19), a Brit in Tenerife would do well to keep as quiet as possible, lest it be thought that they were a descendant of any of the many English pirates to have visited or attacked these shores.

During the 14th Century, pirates avoided Tenerife, since they heard hair-raising tales of the savagery of the inhabitants of the then, as yet, unconquered island, but almost as soon as the Spanish conquest was over, the island became a magnet for the many, mainly British, French and Dutch, pirates. The Canary Islands, due to their geographical position, became a compulsory stopover for the Spanish fleets on their way to and from the New World and because of their strategic location along these trade routes, Tenerife and its fellow Canary Islands, therefore, became sitting ducks for pirate attacks and skirmishes with foreign invasions. Galleons, which came back loaded with treasures from the American Continent, were often attacked by pirates protected by English and French crowns.

Robert Blake's flagship George at the battle of Santa Cruz de Tenerife in 1657
Image Charles Dixon [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Sir Francis Drake attacked Tenerife in 1586 and Gran Canaria in 1595. In 1656/7 Robert Blake, the English pirate, tried to conquer Tenerife and annex it to the English kingdom. On April 20 that year, Blake totally destroyed a Spanish silver fleet of 16 ships at Santa Cruz Bay, Tenerife. In 1706, Rear Admiral Sir John Jennings, with a fleet of 13 ships, tried to occupy Santa Cruz harbour, without success.

The most famous "pirate" to attack Tenerife was Horacio Nelson, whose failed attack on Santa Cruz on 25 July 1797 cost him his arm. Even British history claims that the admiral's intention was to destroy the ships, loaded with a large quantity of gold and silver, which were anchored in the port of Santa Cruz and would have bankrupted Spain.

Of course, it depends which side you're on whether you call these pirates and privateers, or historical icons and national heros, but it's a testament to how tough the local people are that none of them succeeded in invading or taking the island.

These days, it's mostly legless, rather than armless, English invaders in Tenerife.

But the constant cross-ocean naval movements between Spain and its American colonies meant ships laden with treasures and spices. Pirate flotillas began patrolling the stretch of ocean between the Azores and Canary Islands in the 16th century, and would continue to do so into the 17th, 18th and even 19th centuries. In their down time, these pirates would head for the islands where they robbed, burned down villages and killed islanders in search of wine and riches. This constant threat led to a militarization of the island.

Castillo de San Juan Bautista, popularly known as the Castillo Negro, in Santa Cruz.

Watch towers and castles were constructed in hopes of fending off bad-intentioned seafarers, villages were built out of sight from the coastline and, today you can still explore castles, forts and towers in Tenerife. Among those best preserved is the Castillo de San Juan Bautista (or Castillo Negro) in Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

Route of the Castles

Visitors can go on a guided tour of the Castles in Santa Cruz with a little help from the History Museum. Reservations are necessary. Information from 922 825 949/43.

Castillo de San Felipe, Puerto de la Cruz Diego Delso [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The Castillo de San Felipe, in Puerto de la Cruz, was also built to protect that town from attacks of pirates and corsairs. Built in 1634, it continued in its original use until 1878. Restored and in an excellent state of conservation, it is used for cultural events.

Castillo de San Miguel, Garachico

The Castillo de San Miguel in Garachico - which was the island's main port from the conquest, until the eruption of 1706 - was built between 1575 and 1577, during the reign of Phillip II. This Renaissance style fort, now property of the local council, is occasionally used for art exhibitions and contains a mini-museum of history of the area.

Research also shows that many Crypto-Jews [Jews who secretly practiced their religion after being forced to convert to Christianity during the Spanish Inquisition] prospered when they cooperated with the local pirates who turned the archipelago into their main base.

Cristóbal de Ponte, founder of Garachico, financier of the conquest of Tenerife and father of Pedro de Ponte

The village of Adeje, prey to frequent Arab attacks, was also sacked by Sir Francis Drake in 1586, so fortification has played an important part in the development of the town. The fortified haciendaCasa Fuerte stands as testimony to the village's remarkable defensive structure. In 1555, Pedro de Ponte - son of Cristóbal de Ponte the Jewish merchant and banker from Genoa, who founded the town of Garachico - obtained permission from Spain to build the Casa Fuerte; a mixture of country house and fort, to protect his sugar-cane business from the incursions of British and French pirates on the coasts.

Casa Fuerte in Adeje - Image Adeje Town Hall

On several occasions, English corsair, John Hawkins, lived at the Casa Fuerte. Cousin of Sir Francis Drake and backed by Elizabeth I, Hawkins was the partner of Pedro de Ponte in the slave trade with America. One of the most flamboyant figures of the Elizabethan Age, having left his mark as a slave trader, privateer, rear admiral, double agent and noted shipbuilder, Hawkins made plans with his friends in the Canaries to break into the slave trade in Guinea. Pedro de Ponte would help provide the fleet with water and supplies, make necessary arrangements with merchants in the Indies, and find a skilled pilot to handle navigation. Hawkins would provide the ships and the capital.

The last member of the Ponte family to live in the Casa Fuerte was Marqués Don Domingo José de Herrera y Ayala, who died in 1766 and, although the Casa Fuerte is not - it is now - open to the public, in 2007, Adeje council announced that it was in process of rescuing and digitizing its historic archives, documenting the history of the area between 1445 and 1931. The 86 meters worth of documents from the Casa Fuerte: more than 17,000 files and more than a million folio pages, must surely shed some fascinating new light on the history of, not only Adeje, but also of the island of Tenerife, as well as those of the islands of La Gomera and El Hierro during the 15th to 20th Centuries.

Plaza de Santo Domingo and Chuch of Santo Domingo de Guzmán in La Laguna
Image Diego Delso [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Tomb of Amaro Pargo in the Church of
Santo Domingo de Guzmán in La Laguna
The tombstone of Amaro Pargo - one of the most renowned corsairs of the Golden Age of Piracy - in the Church of Santo Domingo de Guzmán in San Cristóbal de La Laguna bears the unmistakable trademark of piracy: an engraved a skull and crossbones.

The Canaries' wealth invited frequent attacks by pirates and privateers.

The most significant attack on Gran Canaria took place in 1599, when the Dutch Admiral Pieter van der Does attacked the capital, Las Palmas, apparently with 74 ships, 12,000 men (the city had 3,500 of the island of Gran Canaria's 8,545 inhabitants) and 150 landing craft. Despite this, the attack was unsuccessful.

Santa Cruz de La Palma too has a rich seafaring history. Founded by Alonso Fernández de Lugo on 3rd May 1493, from that time onwards, became home to Spanish, Flemish, English and Portuguese merchants and a target for pirates including those led by Françoise Le Clerc (known as Peg Leg) who, in 1553, pillaged and destroyed the town.

Protected by too small a garrison, Lanzarote's inhabitants were decimated, for centuries, by the relentless attacks of pirates who were slave-hunters. In the 17th century, pirates raided the island and took 1,000 inhabitants into slavery from the Cueva de los Verdes.

The island of Fuerteventura was once a favourite haunt for pirates and their legacy for divers are some great wreaks to explore.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Comparsa Brasileiros 2019

One of my favourite components of carnival, comparsas in Santa Cruz de Tenerife are said to be similar to the Brazillian Carnival Blocks, but actually appear to have more in common with the dancing, marching and drumming Samba Schools that have a strong community basis and are traditionally associated with a particular neighborhood.

Formed in 1970, Los Brasileiros, directed by Esteban Reyes, has their headquarters in the Santa Cruz de Tenerife neighborhood of La Salud.

Brasileiros | Comparsas adultas | Carnaval S/C Tenerife 2019

Find out more about Santa Cruz Carnival 2020which will take to the streets between Friday, 21st February 2020 and Sunday, 1st March 2020. 

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Carnival Queen Candidate in Santa Cruz de Tenerife 2019 Rocío Pérez Dorta

Whether looking back once more at Santa Cruz de Tenerife Carnival 2019, or forward towards Santa Cruz de Tenerife Carnival 2020 - which takes place between Friday, 21st February 2020 and Sunday, 1st March 2020 - we can't resist another look at the candidates who aspired to become carnival queens in 2019.

Rocío Pérez Dorta in a costume entitled "VUELO" (Flight), designed by José Yeray Díaz Fernández and representing ID Ortodoncia y Estética Bucodental and Taller las Zocas. 

Rocío Pérez Dorta | Gala de la Reina | Carnaval S/C Tenerife 2019

Puerto de la Cruz Summer Carnival 2019, El Sauzal Crafts Fair, Fiestas del Cristo in La Laguna, Romerías and Fiestas, New season of the Tenerife Symphony Orchestra

Puerto de la Cruz Summer Carnival 2019

For the fourth year running, Puerto de la Cruz is holding a Carnaval de Verano (Summer Carnival), on the 12, 13, 14 and 15 September. This year, without the Mascarita Ponte Tacón (Men's High Heels Marathon). The decision was made, together with the organizer of this event, Juan Pedro Hernández, better known as Lupita, to "not tarnish" a celebration that in the last two summer editions had a low participation. (It is, however, the biggest event of the winter carnival in Puerto de la Cruz, held in February / March.)

Program for Summer Carnival 2019

Events begin on Thursday, September 12 with the carnival catwalk. It will bring together the most important designers of the carnival, as well as the 9 queens of the different carnivals of Tenerife, along with the election of the first King of Carnival.

On Friday 13 events move to the Lago Martiánez, where carnival groups will animate a fun night that will have costume contests, summer dances and unusual characters.

On Saturday 14 the fiesta del flotador (pool float party) will be held that has been so successful in previous editions, this time held at Lago Martiánez.

The morning of Sunday 15 will be for the kids with the concert by Ariann, the most prominent young influencer in Spain. In the afternoon, carnival groups, together with the King and his court will parade and will put the end to this summer edition of the carnival.

Del 12 al 15 de septiembre cita con el Carnaval de Verano en el Puerto de la Cruz

El Sauzal Crafts Fair

On Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 September, the 3rd edition of the Feria Pon Artesanía En Tu Mesa (Put Handicrafts on Your Table) Crafts Fair is taking place in the Plaza de San Pedro in El Sauzal. The fair will be open from 10.00 to 21.00 hours, on Saturday and from 10.00 to 20.00 hours, on Sunday.

As in previous editions, gastronomy will be the focus of the exhibition and sale of products at this fair in which twenty artisans participate.

The Fair will be complemented with an extensive program of activities throughout the two days, among which are children's workshops, demonstrations of traditional sports, gastronomy workshops, puppets, musical performances, showcooking and tastings.

Fiestas del Cristo in La Laguna

The Fiestas in honor of the Christ of La Laguna are celebrated throughout the month of September, but this weekend sees the main days of these celebrations.

Friday 13 September sees the Día de la Tradicións (Day of Traditions), with processions of folk groups through the streets, turn into the Noche de las Tradiciones (Night of Traditions) with concerts by folk groups around various points of the city from 18:00 hrs. At 20:00 on this eve of the great day of the festivities, there is a candlelit procession through the streets of the city, leaving from the Plaza de la Concepción, along Calle Obispo Rey Redondo to the Plaza del Cristo. Groups of children carrying decorated lanterns, accompanied by musicians, who in a joyous procession enter the square to watch the dance of the traditional Caballitos de Fuego (fire horses), which now are cane structures in the form of horses decorated with paper. At midnight, there are fireworks.

On Saturday 14 September, the most important day of the fiestas, around noon, El Cristo returns to his shrine in procession. At night another procession is made. At 23:00 hrs, upon returning to the Plaza is the most important fireworks display in the municipality, in the area called El Risco, in the Montaña de San Roque. At its end, and coinciding with the entrance of the Holy Christ to its Shrine, the deafening "traca" begins. From midnight there is dancing to Edwin Rivera and the Orquestas Dinacor and Banda Loca.

More of the program for the fiestas [in Spanish] can be found here

Fiesta del Stmo. Cristo de La Laguna. 14 de septiembre de 2018

Other Romerías and fiestas taking place this weekend (follow links for programs):

Tenerife Symphony Orchestra 2019/20

The 2019-2020 season of the Tenerife Symphony Orchestra, the second with Antonio Méndez as director. Balancing the old and the new, the known with the still to be discovered is the idea upon which the nineteen concerts are based.

The season runs from September 13 to June 26.

More information and tickets from the Auditorio de Tenerife

Friday, September 06, 2019

Brother Pedro Night Walk, Traditional Crafts Fair and Descent of the Virgen del Socorro in Güímar, Guía de Isora Crafts Fair and Fiestas, Bajamar Endless Summer 2019, Grand Tenerife Wine Festival 2019

Brother Pedro Night Walk

On Friday 6 September 2019 from 21:00 to 23:30 the XV Ruta Nocturna el Ere del Hermano Pedro (15th Brother Pedro Night Walk) is taking place. The walk will start at around 9 pm from the square of El Médano. For reasons of security and logistics, it is essential to register in advance, which you can do right up to 6 September, by calling 922.75.99.00.

The theme of this year's event is the commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the passage of Magellan and Elcano along the Granadilla coast.

The word ‘ere’ comes from its African roots and, at the time, more than 350 years ago, it was used by Brother Pedro (a goat shepherd) when he visited with his flock. It is a natural watering hole in the bottom of the ravine, which the Guanches used in their routes with the cattle.

Bajada de la Virgen del Socorro, Güímar

The Feria de Artesanía (Traditional Crafts Fair) takes place on Saturday 7 September 2109 in El Socorro (Güímar) and from 19:00 the Bajada del Socorro (Descent of the Virgen del Socorro), possibly the oldest of the Canary Islands' Romerías. You can download the full program of the fiestas [in Spanish] from Güímar Town Hall at this link (PDF).

On Sunday 8 September 2019, as part of the Fiestas patronales in Guía de Isora 2019, there is the XXXVIII Feria de Artesanía (38th Crafts Fair) in Guía de Isora.

Other fiestas taking place this weekend (click the links to access programs [in Spanish]):

Bajamar Endless Summer

At the Piscina Natural de Bajamar (Natural Swimming Pools at Bajamar) on Saturday 7 September 2019 from 16:00 to midnight with music from DJ´s Roger S. Morgan, Mcr Selector and DJ Santee, foodtrucks from Limón y Sal, Lemonde y Ukelele, a mojito bar from Ron Barceló and beers from Dorada and Stella Artois.

Bajamar Endless Summer 2019

Grand Tenerife Wine Festival 2019

And on Saturday 7 September 2019 from 18:00 to 02:00 on the Playa de El Socorro in Los Realejos, enjoy the Gran Fiesta de los Vinos de Tenerife 2019 (Grand Tenerife Wine Festival 2019), aimed at promoting the wines that are produced on the island. Wines will be at the price of €2 and will be delivered with individual garbage bags for the audience to collaborate with the maintenance and conservation of the space. For every trash bag that is returned filled, €1 will be refunded. Music will be provided by DJs. (Via)

Thursday, September 05, 2019

Fourth Matron of Honour in Santa Cruz 2019 Concepción Rodríguez González

Whether looking back once more at Santa Cruz de Tenerife Carnival 2019, or forward towards Santa Cruz de Tenerife Carnival 2020 - which takes place between Friday, 21st February 2020 and Sunday, 1st March 2020 - we can't resist another look at the candidates who aspired to become carnival queens in 2019.

Fourth Matron of Honor to the Senior Carnival Queen in Santa Cruz 2019 was Concepción Rodríguez González, with the fantasy “Bajo la luna del Nilo” (Under the Moon of the Nile), designed by Jonathan Suárez López, on behalf of Gabinete de Estética Africa y Vicky.

Concepción Rodríguez González | Gala de la reina de los mayores | Carnaval SC Tenerife 2019

Sunday, September 01, 2019

Tenerife Fiestas in September 2019

Fiestas del cristo

There are no national public holidays in September 2019, but the following are holidays for the following celebrations in each of the following municipalities:

  • 2 September: Fiestas Patronales in La Victoria de Acentejo
  • 7 September: Festival of la Bajada de Nuestra Señora del Socorro
  • 9 September: Festival of San José in San Juan de la Rambla
  • 9 September: Festival of Nuestra Señora de los Remedios in Tegueste
  • 14 September: Festival of Santísimo Cristo de La Laguna in La Laguna
  • 16 September: Festival of Santísimo Cristo de la Dulce Muerte in Guía de Isora
  • 30 September: Festival of San Miguel Arcángel in San Miguel de Abona

The largest celebration being the Fiestas del Cristo in La Laguna, the main day is the 14th, but there are various festive, cultural and sporting events during the whole month.