After almost 20 years, posts here will now only be occasional (see why) for big events such as Tenerife Carnaval, so please "Like" and follow our Facebook Page because that is where to get these updates.

The tradition of the Tablas de San Andrés

Tablas de San Andrés in olden times

The festival of Las Tablas de San Andrés in the town of Icod de los Vinos has nothing to do with the saint, but is celebrated on November 29 and 30, which is the day of San Andrés (St Andrew's Day) and has become a popular custom. Originally, spread by word of mouth, with the day of San Andrés as a reference, which is why, even today, it's known as Las Tablas de San Andrés.

Tenerife is an island characterized by its unevenness and in some areas the slopes are steeper than others and in Icod de los Vinos especially so. The town was well known throughout the islands for its winemaking tradition and the winemakers of old had the custom of washing the wine barrels in the sea because they said that the salt water eliminated the acids from the interior.

At that time there was no transport that allowed the barrels to be carried downhill to the sea, so they lowered them, either rolling or on some boards which slid until they reached the area near the sea. The boards also protected the barrels from possible blows that they might suffer on the way. 

This simple act of going downhill with the barrel on top of a board was what caught the attention of the youngsters, who turned it into a game that, little by little, became the event that is known today. The barrels are no longer transported in this manner, because over the years more modern means began to be used, but people continue to take to the boards on the most vertiginous slopes.

This festival has become so popular that it receives visits from curious tourists who just want to see or to participate like the locals, which is why the municipality has now designated specific points to make the descents.