Thursday, December 31, 2020

New Year’s Eve: Ushering 2020 out the door

Make sure your red undies are ready for the New Year

Activities for New Year's Eve, Nochevieja, this year will not include the traditional New Year's Eve party in the Plaza de España, as events that involve a large concentration of people are still strictly prohibited because of the ongoing pandemic. Although, a virtual festival will see out the year from Granadilla, starting at 10:30 pm, with live performances by Orquestas Tropin and Deliciosa, broadcast via the town hall's Facebook page.

Santa Cruz de Tenerife will host the live broadcast by Radio Televisión Española (RTVE) of the New Year's Eve Chimes tonight, through the La 1 channel. A promotional video of Santa Cruz de Tenerife and, the sound of the twelve chimes will be crowned with a great fireworks display, organized by the City Council, in the five districts of the municipality simultaneously. The broadcast will also be available through

We've read reports where toasts will be made at mid-day instead of midnight in order to avoid the restrictions of the curfew, which is delayed to start at 01:00hrs. In other news, hotels, who don't have tourists to fill them, are offering dinner and accommodation deals to residents on New Year's Eve, as a solution to the problem of getting home in time.

What we can do from home, is to eat the twelve "lucky" grapes (Uvas de la Suerte), one grape on each stroke of the clock - all suitably washed down with Cava: Spanish bubbly - a tradition that is believed to have come from the ancient wine-growers. Others say this tradition only began in 1909, a year in which there was an excess of grape production in the Levante, Murcia and Alicante areas, so, to make a profit from the situation, they were put up for sale under the name of "lucky grapes" or "miracle grapes." Another hypothesis about the name of the ‘good luck grapes’ may be due to the fact that, since the farmers had such a good harvest year, they were related to abundance and prosperity. Who knows?

Another custom (or superstition, if you prefer, but even those who aren't superstitious will probably observe these "just in case") is to wear your very best, new clothes (admittedly, usually to party). Wearing new clothes symbolises starting the year from scratch. You should also wear red underwear because it's the colour of happiness and good luck.

One last event this year becomes a casualty of the pandemic, the XXXIX San Silvestre Lagunera 2020, an annual run that usually takes place in La Laguna on New Year's Eve - Saint Sylvester's Day, which has been postponed until further notice. 

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Comparsa Los Cariocas 2020

Comparsa Los Cariocas 2020

comparsa groups epitomise the spirit of carnival with all they impart in their 'colour, joy and rhythm [...] with exuberant costumes and sonorous drums.' Comparsa Los Cariocas were winners of the first prize for interpretation at the Comparsas Contest in 2020.

There will be no Carnival in Santa Cruz de Tenerife in 2021, although the City Council is working with the Carnival groups in the design of some activities that can maintain the spirit of the festivities during the weeks in which it should have been celebrated

Los Cariocas | Comparsas Adultas | S/C Tenerife 2020

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Rosalía Gómez, the last slave of Tenerife

"Rosalía Gómez, the last slave of Tenerife"; Nelson Díaz Frías discovers an unpublished history of slaves in Arona

"This is an impressive and hitherto unknown true story of a woman of flesh and blood, called Rosalía Gómez, who was born at the beginning of the 19th century as a slave in the south of Tenerife." Thus begins the new book by the prolific historian Nelson Díaz Frías, entitled 'Rosalía Gómez (1801-1874), la última esclava de la isla de Tenerife' (Rosalía Gómez (1801-1874), the last slave on the island of Tenerife), which will be presented in the coming weeks.

This work, sponsored by the Department of Historical Heritage of the Arona City Council, collects the unpublished story of this woman, who lived in the south of Tenerife for much of the 19th century, and whose mere existence constitutes, in itself, a historical anachronism.

“This new book by historian Nelson Díaz Frías reveals a reality in our history that many people will be surprised by”, says Councilor José Alberto Delgado.

Rosalía Gómez was the last person subjected to slavery on the island of Tenerife and, most likely, also the last slave in Spain, discounting the American overseas territories of Cuba and Puerto Rico. In this book, Nelson Díaz Frías hits us, with the precision of data, with the biography of the last Tenerife slave, a woman whose existence barely reached beyond the limits of the municipality of Arona and who was born a slave for the simple fact that her mother was a slave, as well as her grandmother and all her maternal ancestors before her, constituting a unique and astonishing case of a whole lineage of slave women subjected to captivity, generation after generation from the 16th to the 19th century, at the hands of the successive generations of the same family of the rural bourgeoisie of Chasna.

Rosalía was born in Charco del Pino (Granadilla de Abona), in 1801. At just 10 years old, she was separated from her family and transferred to Arona, a municipality where she would spend the rest of her life, when she was sold to her third and last owner. The first was Antonio Gómez del Castillo, mayor of Granadilla at the beginning of the 19th century, hence she adopted his surname. Because of the family uprooting of the slaves and their social marginalization, they were not even aware of their true lineage,” Díaz Frías explained.

The investigation has revealed that Rosalía had offspring despite her single status. She gave birth to three children who, like their mother and ancestors, acquired the status of slaves from the day they were born, but were never sold at the will of their first and only owner, reaching freedom in adolescence as a result of the abolition law enacted in 1837. 

Díaz Frías' study determines that the last slave in Tenerife achieved her freedom at the age of 40 and the status of servant three years after the abolition law was approved. Her new condition would be acquired from her last owner, José Medina, great-grandfather of Juan Bethencourt Alfonso, a renowned doctor and anthropologist from San Miguel.

The author explains that Rosalía would end up settling after a few years in a humble house in the hamlet of Túnez (Arona), where she died in 1874. The house in which she lived from the age of 10 until she was liberated three decades later still exists in the church square in Arona and today it is owned by the descendants of José Medina. In the book there is a photo of the house and even of the room where Rosalía Gómez very possibly rested.

Nelson Díaz Frías explains, "I came across a burial certificate from November 1874 by pure chance, where the details of the late Rosalía Gómez, her parentage, her age ... and a note made by the priest that caught my attention were recorded: "The late Rosalía Gómez was brought to this town as a slave girl ”. I was curious and wanted to investigate who that woman was, if she left offspring and which family she served as a slave”.

“It is the first lineage that I find of slaves in which I have been able to trace their ancestry practically until the beginning of the seventeenth century, and also enslaved by the same Vilaflor and Arona family generation after generation. Her great-great-grandmother is the oldest of this lineage at the beginning of the 17th century and this great-great-grandmother's ancestors were slaves of African origin, although Rosalía was a white woman”.

In addition, this work contains essential chapters to better understand the phenomenon of slavery in the society of the south of Tenerife in past centuries, although the bulk of the work is dedicated to the unfortunate life of the slave Rosalía Gómez, who came to Arona when she was bought by the rich, Don José Antonio Medina, as well as the unpleasant circumstances of her ancestors and the slave family to which they belonged.

Díaz Frías emphasizes that Adeje concentrated the largest number of slaves in the South because it was a jurisdictional manor owned by the Marquis of Adeje. Many worked the sugar cane, which required great physical effort. "To this day, it is known in Adeje and also in Los Cristianos the families that come from black slaves," he says.

The book is complemented with a genealogical study of the descendants of the freed slave, as well as the lineages descended from slaves in the south of Tenerife, today represented by, among others, the names of Marcelino, Melián, Morales, Salazar and Urbano.

When asked about the message that he would like to remain among the readers of his latest work, Díaz Frías argues that “I have only tried to give a voice to a woman who never had one and who, at least, was able to live half of her life in freedom unlike her ancestors, who died slaves. The book tries to provide a lesson for the present and the future, which is to maintain hope in the men and women who fight for a more just society."

Monday, December 28, 2020

Rural Woman of Tenerife Award 2020

Goats from Teno Alto at the San Antionio Abad fiestas in Buenavista del Norte

The Rural Woman of Tenerife 2020 award recognizes the work of seven women, being dubbed 'The ‘Marías’ of Teno Alto', who have dedicated their lives to livestock and traditional cheese makingThe Cabildo de Tenerife, through the Fundación Tenerife Rural (Tenerife Rural Foundation), awarded its Rural Woman of Tenerife 2020 award to the ‘Marías’ of Teno Alto, in Buenavista del Norte, in the most remote part of the Northwest of the island. Seven women who made headlines when the award was announced. Seven women of whom little is known beyond the village that has seen them born and live in their own way. They are: María del Rosario Regalado or María de Los Dornajos; María del Carmen Verde Martín or María de Las Cuevas; María del Carmen González Martín or María Carmensa from La Tablada; María González Regalado or María de El Vallado; María Teresa Martín Regalado or María Teresa de La Zahorra; María Agustina Álvarez González or María de La Abejera, and María Rodríguez González or María de La Mesita.

The polkadot goats of Teno Alto, which I'm certain belonged to one of the Marias who I used to chat with each year at the livestock fair in Buenavista del Norte

In the supporting report that the Buenavista del Norte Council presented to the Tenerife Rural Foundation to recognize these women from Teno Alto, it is stated that “they should be recognized for their contribution to the maintenance of traditional agricultural practices and the conservation of rural heritage linked to livestock activity, in their long history as cheesemakers and goatherds, all combined with the care and support of their families”. 

The document recognizes the merit that each of these women would individually have to be worthy of recognition as Rural Woman of Tenerife, but at the same time it states that it would be very difficult to “select one of them without naming the others”. For this reason, it was decided to request a group recognition.

These older women, all with a common name, María, are known among their neighbors by the place where they live and for having “all their lives working with goats and cheese factories, using traditional methods of making cheese and cheese, transmitting this knowledge to their offspring”. Although they have not been alone in the livestock business, the council wants to highlight the work of these women, which many times has not been valued, being reduced to the category of family help. Among these merits, we must not forget that they also face the bureaucracy that makes the task more difficult every day and hinders their way of working and producing.

This group of women is part of the legacy of Teno Alto, as their example, work and memory have allowed the transmission of values ​​and knowledge through the generations. They are "women of perseverance and dedication who have lived in a difficult rural environment," where they have had to survive in the face of adversity and who never give up or abandon their lands. Women who have surpassed themselves and who have had to progress without leaving behind the customs and knowledge that their ancestors taught them.

The landscape of Teno Alto

María de Los Dornajos

María de Los Dornajos learned farm work from her parents. Once she got married, she went on to take care of the cheese making while her husband was in charge of herding the goats. At present, she continues to collaborate by transmitting her knowledge to her son Miguel and her two grandchildren, who are now in charge of the livestock.

Maria de Las Cuevas

She has been working in livestock and agriculture all her life, together with her husband, in order to survive. In the area it is known for the production of cheeses, but due to the new regulatory requirements, her family could not continue with the cheese industry and currently they have hardly any livestock.

Maria de La Tablada

Since she was little, she was in charge of helping her mother with the cattle and with the cheese making, since her father emigrated to Cuba to work for many years. When she married, along with her husband, she continued with the same tasks.

Maria from El Vallado

She has been working with goats and making cheese all her life. Although she is not currently involved in the activity, her son has continued the family tradition.

María Teresa de La Zahorra

Like the other Marías de Teno Alto, she has been making cheese all her life. At present she is not engaged in the activity and she no longer has livestock.

Maria de La Zahorra

Like the others, she learned livestock and cheese making from her relatives, in this case from her mother and grandfather. From a very young age she was forced to help by making cheese. Although she recognizes that livestock is a sacrificial activity, she and her husband like it very much because it has been a part of their entire lives. She transmitted her experience to her daughter Ana María, who is the one who carries out the production of cheeses today.

Maria de La Mesita

She worked with goats for much of her life. She was in charge of the care and herding of the animals while her husband was the one who made the cheeses that served them as sustenance.

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Carnival Queen in Santa Cruz de Tenerife 2008

Carnival Queen in Santa Cruz de Tenerife 2008, Nauzet Celeste Cruz Melo

With the announcement that the one carnival gala in 2021 will choose Guardians of the Sceptre until Carnival 2022, from among carnival queens of the last 20 years of the Santa Cruz Carnival, we took that as a perfect excuse to take another look at them.

Carnival Queen in Santa Cruz de Tenerife 2008 was Nauzet Celeste Cruz Melo in a costume entitled, "La Edad de Oro" (The Golden Age), designed by Santi Castro and representing supermarket chain, Carrefour

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Carnaval Queen in Santa Cruz de Tenerife 2007

Carnaval Queen in Santa Cruz de Tenerife 2007, Elizabet García

With the announcement that the one carnival gala in 2021 will choose Guardians of the Sceptre until Carnival 2022, from among carnival queens of the last 20 years of the Santa Cruz Carnival, we took that as a perfect excuse to take another look at them.

Carnival Queen in Santa Cruz de Tenerife in 2007 was Elizabet García, in a costume entitled "Miss Dior", designed by Leo Martínez and representing newspaper El Día.

Friday, December 25, 2020

Have a Magical Christmas 2020 in Tenerife

The best of both worlds: snow on Teide and sunshine at the coast

Christmas is very different this year, but most people's wish in Tenerife for Christmas Day - Día de Navidad - would be for snow at the top of Mount Teide. We'll probably all have to make do with images and coverage in the media this year with restrictions on travel.

Christmas lights in Santa Cruz de Teneife

This year, sadly the annual Christmas Day Concert will not be taking place. One of the few things that is fairly normal, in fact, increased this year, are the Christmas Lights. Here's a look at some of them in centre of Santa Cruz, accompanied by jolly Christmas music.

Flor de pascua (Poinsettia)

Towns and cities fill with cultivated poinsettias at this time of year - 45,800 in Santa Cruz de Tenerife alone this year - but there are many growing wild at the sides of the roads.

The best treat is churros, served with hot chocolate to warm up!

If I was going to Mount Teide on Christmas Day, which is local tradition on the island, especially if there's enough snow to play in, but not so much as to close the roads - this may well be restricted this year to avoid crowds - one of the best ways to warm up is to order chocolate con churros, but here's the recipe so you can make them at home.

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Why is Mass on Dec 24 called "Misa del Gallo"?

Un Gallo (A Rooster)

Among all the religious events that are celebrated during the Christmas season we find the popular "Misa del Gallo" (literally Rooster's Mass), which takes place at midnight on Christmas Eve, December 24, that is to say, just at the beginning of Christmas day.

Most historians and authoritative voices on the liturgical theme point, as the origin of this traditional religious commemoration of the birth of Jesus, to Pope Sixtus III who, in the 5th century, established the custom of celebrating a night vigil mass at midnight on the day of celebration of the Messiah's birth, after the entrance to the new day (Christmas), in the “ad galli cantus” (at the crowing of the rooster). The "ad galli cantus" referred to the moment when the new day begins, according to ancient Roman traditions, at midnight.

But, as not all sources agree with this origin, there are those who place it in an ancient fable that tells that during the birth of Jesus there was a rooster in the stable, which was the first living being witness to such an event and thus be in charge of proclaiming it, first to the mule and the ox, then to the shepherds and their sheep and finally to the people who lived in the surroundings and, therefore, the coming to the world of the Messiah was announced "ad galli cantus", that is to say, by the crowing of the rooster.

Another theory, poorly documented and lacking enough credibility, maintains that the name is due to the fact that, in the past, in some countries the Christmas Eve dinner menu consisted of a roasted rooster! There are also those who assure that the origin of the name of the Mass of the Rooster has its origin in its celebration in the Church of Saint Peter in Gallicantu in Jerusalem. This church took its name from the evangelical episode that recounted how Jesus warned Peter that he would deny him three times before the rooster crowed.

Although it is an ingrained custom to celebrate it at midnight, on some occasions the Mass schedule is adapted to the needs of the community and can be advanced. 

Flavours of Christmas: Christmas Eve Dinner

Christmas Eve and the table is set

As in most Spanish provinces, there are special typical recipes for every occasion and Christmas is no exception. For those who have planned to visit us on these dates, in addition to ensuring good weather, we want to guide you through our gastronomy so that you can take home a delicious memory. For those of us who celebrate it as a family, our journey through Christmas recipes undoubtedly begins by visiting the market, to the stalls to which we go year after year to acquire the best ingredients for our typical Christmas Eve dinner.

The market looks splendid as always at this time of year, adorned with garlands, lights and animated Christmas carols. In each house and on each island they have their own particular favourites, we want to show you the most common ones, the ones that are never missing from the dinner table of La Laguna families.


We start by welcoming our guests with a tray of langostines, homemade croquettes and local cheeses with mojo sauces and, of course, the star of our starters, the famous pata de cochino asada (roast leg of pork).


The most used on these dates are cherne (grouper) and cod that we will serve in the most traditional way, with onions and accompanied by some papas arrugadas (wrinkled potatoes) and bathed with cilantro (coriander) or spicy mojo sauce.


Goat kid in adobo and rabbit in salmorejo are the main stars of our gastronomy although they take on a special role in our tables for Christmas and that of course we accompany them with wrinkled potatoes that we will bathe over and over in their delicious sauce.

Beyond the typical Christmas desserts such as the usual turrones (nougats), polvorones and marzipans, which we also like, what Canarians really love to eat are the Truchas de Batata (Sweet Potato Pies) and Pella de Gofio, a delicious dough made with kneaded gofio, honey and nuts, is served in thin slices and is accompanied by a sweet local wine.

Potatoes for sale at La Laguna Market Wolfgang Holzem, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Junior Carnival Queen in Santa Cruz 2020

Junior Carnival Queen 2020

Junior Carnival Queen in Santa Cruz de Tenerife 2020 was Violeta García García with a costume entitled, ‘La más anciana de la vieja fábrica’ (The oldest in the old factory), designed by Alexis Santana Rodríguez and representing Construcciones y Reformas Eliazar Jesús and Restaurante La Punta.

There will be no Carnival in Santa Cruz de Tenerife in 2021, although the City Council is working with the Carnival groups in the design of some activities that can maintain the spirit of the festivities during the weeks in which it should have been celebrated

Violeta García García | Gala Reina Infantil | S/C Tenerife 2020

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Seven tips for Christmas and New Year's Eve dinners in Tenerife in times of coronavirus

A sweet Christmas table

Whether there will be four, six or ten people, the important thing is that Covid-19 is not among the guests, and it can be achieved by following some simple guidelines

Thousands of families will gather around the table in Tenerife on Christmas Eve, Christmas and New Year's Eve, with fewer diners than usual and without as many kisses and hugs as in other years, however, safely enjoying time with those closest to you is possible.

Pay attention to the restrictions on the number of diners that the Government of the Canary Islands has announced for our island, but up to a maximum of ten six guests may arrive on the most important dates. Although it is also recommended to reduce or suspend company dinners, it is almost inevitable that there will be some type of Christmas gathering, so we present some simple recommendations so that it runs in the safest way possible.
  1. The fewer the better. This Christmas, mass meals will not be possible, neither those of co-workers, nor those of friends, because there is a limit on the number of diners and capacity even in restaurants. But encounters will be possible, bearing in mind that five will always be better than six, and four better than five.
  2. Take advantage of the 22º average: The privileged climate of the Canary Islands allows us to hold gatherings outdoors or in well-ventilated spaces, more easily than in the rest of the country. Many of the catering establishments in Tenerife have terraces or open spaces where you can enjoy dinners with less risk of contagion.
  3. One person, one plate. This Christmas we will have to avoid sharing starters or the trays of Christmas sweets. 
  4. Toast responsibly. This Christmas we can make a toast as always, but it is preferable to make the toast without clinking glasses. Each diner must have their own glass, and, if possible, it would be good to put some detail, bow or sticker on the base of the glasses to avoid confusion.
  5. Safety distance. If meals or celebrations are made outside the family environment, there should be a distance between non-cohabitants and not be placed opposite the brother-in-law or coworker. Face to face, only those who live together.
  6. Music and volume limitation. We must avoid Christmas carols and ambient music both at home and in catering establishments. Singing and shouting are risky behaviors.
  7. Always remember the 6 'M' rule: use of a mask whenever possible, frequent hand washing, meters (maintenance of physical distance), maximize ventilation, minimize the number of contacts and 'stay home if you have symptoms, diagnosis or contact'.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Two Canarian towns to be added to the list of The Most Beautiful Towns of Spain in 2021

Aerial view of Garachico

The Association The Most Beautiful Towns of Spain has just announced its new incorporations for the year 2021.

In total, there are eleven localities that have fulfilled the requirements established by the organization to be part of the network, which begins with the request of the municipal plenary session or the governing board, and which this year has been requested by numerous municipalities. As of January 1, 2021, the network will have 104 locations.

Among them are Garachico (Tenerife) and Agulo (La Gomera), which join Tejeda, on the island of Gran Canaria, which joined the network in 2015, and which in this time has seen the seasonal adjustment of tourism and the growth of visitors.

Garachico and Agulo thus join the Association that takes care of the most wonderful towns in the Spanish geography: Places of great beauty that treasure history, culture and traditions.

They will be officially presented at the Madrid International Tourism Fair (FITUR) together with the other 8 municipalities that join the network and during the spring an important proclamation ceremony will be held in these beautiful towns. New Canarian candidacies are currently being studied, which in the coming years will join the list of the most beautiful towns in Spain.

New towns 2021

The towns that become part of the Association are Beget (Girona), Molinaseca (León), Baños de la Encina (Jaén), Genalguacil (Málaga), Nuevo Baztán (Madrid), Valverde de la Vera (Cáceres), Agulo ( La Gomera), Roncal (Navarra), Bulnes, Cudillero (Asturias) and Garachico (Tenerife).

These eleven municipalities have passed an audit during this 2020, with more than 40 criteria, in order to be part of this network, in aspects as important as the care of the heritage, the harmony of the municipality, cleaning, conservation of the facades, vehicle circulation, care of flowers and green areas, programmed cultural activity or attention to traditions, among many others

In the words of Francisco Mestre, president of the association, “today is a day of pride and happiness for the entire group of peoples that are part of this network, in which we welcome eleven new members to this quality network. For us, credibility as a brand is the most important thing, so our towns pass a rigorous audit that seeks to take the visitor to another time, where beauty, good conservation, harmony and other important aspects such as culture, gastronomy , tradition or folklore are indispensable. That is why our association does not seek to have many towns, it seeks to have only the best, the most beautiful, those that you cannot miss”.

Garachico from above

About Garachico

Garachico, a town located in the northeast of the island of Tenerife, has a rich architectural heritage in its well-preserved historic center, dating from the 16th and 17th centuries, which is why it was declared a Site of Cultural Interest in 1994.

Its beautiful cobbled streets invite you to explore the heart of the town, its churches and historic buildings. Garachico was almost completely devastated in 1706, but many families of great influence decided to rebuild it, recovering its heritage and cultural beauty.

Some historic buildings were saved, such as the San Francisco convent, dating from 1526 and located opposite the central Plaza de la Libertad, or the stonework façade of the Casa de los Condes de la Gomera, in the Renaissance style. On the coast, next to the historic center, the Castillo de San Miguel, from 1575, and the natural pools of El Caletón stand out, highly appreciated by visitors and residents.

Garachiquense gastronomy participates in the Canarian gastronomic wealth. Its coastal and port enclave has traditionally made it a point of reference for tasting fresh fish and seafood.

On the other hand, the local traditional pastry has an outstanding exponent in the delicacies that the Franciscan conceptionist nuns continue to make. Garachico has also been famous for its good wines, included in the Ycoden-Daute-Isora appellation of origin.

View of Agulo Tony Hisgett from Birmingham, UK, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

About Agulo

Known as the bonbon of La Gomera, for its beauty, Agulo is an immense viewpoint tinted by the green of its crops over the Atlantic Ocean, and by its cobbled streets, which lead us to the beautiful church of San Marcos with its white domes, in contrast to the reddish tone of the tiles of the houses.

Agulo is one of the smallest and oldest towns on the island of La Gomera, with privileged views of Tenerife and its imposing El Teide volcano, its old town is one of the best preserved in the entire archipelago, and is formed by narrow and cobbled streets that transport us to times gone by.

Among its heritage, the Church of San Marcos stands out, a primitive hermitage founded in 1607 that was transformed into a church years later. At the beginning of the 20th century it was demolished to build the current neo-Gothic style temple.

Agulo has a cuisine based on potatoes, yams or watercress, which have allowed the development of typical dishes such as watercress stew, or yam stew, goat or pig meat, accompanied by potatoes with mojo picón; not forgetting the Almogrote, which is a spread made mainly with cured and seasoned goat cheese.

View over Agulo

Monday, December 21, 2020

Tomorrow will be a very special draw for the El Gordo lottery, with masks and antigen tests for the children of San Ildefonso

Children of the San Ildefonso school sing out the numbers

Once more, this Tuesday, December 22, a new edition of the Sorteo Extraordinario de Navidad de Lotería Nacional (Extraordinary Christmas Draw of the National Lottery), known as El Gordo (The Fat One) will be held. It will start a few minutes after 8:00 am, at the Teatro Real de Madrid. The Christmas Lottery draw will be broadcast live from 07:30 on La 1, TVE Internacional, Radio Nacional de España and RTVE Digital, on the web and on social media. In addition, you can follow, minute by minute, at La Laguna Ahora.

The Extraordinary Draw of the Christmas Lottery 2020 will have a protocol of health security and prevention measures against coronavirus, with among others, antigen tests, the maintenance of the safety distance, and the use of screens and masks. Lotteries have already reported that this year the draw will be held without public attendance and that the capacity allowed in the theater for the media will be reduced to 50%.

The Sociedad Estatal de Loterías y Apuestas del Estado (SELAE) has reported that "it will be the draw with the highest health security measures in its history and without the usual presence of the public" and recalled that "it has been working for months", together with the Teatro Real and the San Ildefonso School, in the development of this protocol. 

Among the provisions agreed by the three institutions, “the strict security measures that will take place on stage” stand out, including antigen testing of all girls and boys and workers who remain on stage. The boys and girls of the Colegio de San Ildefonso will only be allowed to remove their masks at the moment in which they sing the prize and number, and will maintain a safety distance of two meters between their positions in the room. The ball drums will be further apart than usual to ensure the safety of the workers. There will also be a security screen for the professionals; and the presidential table will have four members, instead of the usual five, to comply with the minimum safety distance between them. 

The children of San Ildefonso have been singing the numbers of the National Lottery for more than two centuries. The first draw in which they took part was on March 9, 1771.

Winning Numbers of the Christmas Lottery

Photo: jacilluch, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Ahead of tomorrow's eagerly awaited draw of El Gordo the Spanish Christmas Lottery, we take a look at the winning numbers from all of the previous editions.

While plenty of people will simply play whichever number happens to be available at their favorite local bar, many Spaniards choose theirs carefully. A common question you’ll hear people ask each other is “En qué termina?” (What does it end with?) While choosing the exact five numbers you want to play is quite difficult (although you can do so online), many people will at least try and make the last digit or two mean something.

The number most preferred by those seeking luck is one that ends in 5 ... El Gordo de Navidad has terminated in this number up to 32 times, followed by 4 and 6 (27 times). 

However, if you want to win the prize, you should avoid some endings, since it has never fallen on numbers that ended in 09, 10, 21, 25, 31, 34, 41, 42, 43, 51, 54, 59, 67 , 78 and 82. In addition, the 1 is the least fortunate ending, since it has only come out 8 times. In fact, one number does not matter more than another, although superstition is superstition.

The most repeated endings have been 85 (7 times), 56 (6), 64 (5) and 95, 58 and 40, which have been awarded four times each. In three different years, El Gordo fell to numbers ending at 297 and twice each El Gordo was number 15640 and 20297.

The superstitious should also avoid a few thousand, as no jackpot ever started with 27, 37, 39, 41, 44, 51, 64, 67 to 75, 77, or by numbers between 80 and 99.

The earliest first prize was drawn in 2004: at 9.15 in the morning, thirteen minutes after the start of the draw, the number 54600 surprised everyone by being the El Gordo of that year when only 39 balls had been drawn.

This table lists all of the numbers that have been awarded the Jackpot prize of the Christmas Lottery throughout history, which has been held continuously since 1812.

Sunday, December 20, 2020

All of the new COVID-19 rules in Tenerife

Puerto de la Cruz at night

All of the new rules that were announced for Tenerife's closure have now been published in the Official Bulletin (BOC) Nº 261. Viernes 18 de diciembre de 2020 - 5028 and came into force at 00:00 on Saturday 19 December for 15 days (until 1 January, inclusive).

National and foreign tourists are exempt from the border restrictions and may enter Tenerife to stay in regulated tourist accommodation on production of a negative test. 

Many of the other rules regarding curfew times, limit in numbers of people gathering, restaurant rules, etc., will still apply to you if visiting. And if you wanted to go to the casino or bingo (actually fun trying to follow the numbers in Spanish), you're out of luck.

Limitation of entry and exit from the island of Tenerife

Entry to the island of Tenerife is restricted to people from the rest of the national territory. Likewise, the departure from the island of Tenerife is restricted to people bound for the rest of the national territory.

These restrictions will not affect properly justified trips that occur for any of the following reasons, in the provisions of article 6 of Royal Decree 926/2020, of October 25, which declares the state of alarm for containing the spread of infections caused by SARS-CoV-2:

  • Assistance to health centers, services and establishments.
  • Compliance with labor, professional, business, institutional or legal obligations.
  • Attendance at university, teaching and educational centers, including nursery schools.
  • Return to the place of habitual or family residence. Displacements to territories that are the place of habitual residence of relatives or close friends of those who move are understood to be included in this exception.
  • Assistance and care for the elderly, minors, dependents, people with disabilities or especially vulnerable people.
  • Travel to financial and insurance entities, or to refueling stations in neighboring territories.
  • Required or urgent actions before public, judicial or notarial bodies.
  • Renewals of permits and official documentation, as well as other administrative procedures that cannot be postponed.
  • Taking official exams or tests that cannot be postponed.
  • Due to force majeure or situation of need.
  • Any other activity of a similar nature, duly accredited.
  • The health authority is empowered to establish controls to limit inter-municipal mobility if necessary.

People who are on the island of Tenerife and return to their island of residence will undergo a diagnostic test on the island of arrival. Those that must travel regularly between islands will be screened periodically.

Likewise, it is recommended not to travel between municipalities.

Limitation of the number of people not living together in family and social gatherings

Groups of people, both in spaces for public and private use, closed or outdoors, will be limited to people living together, understood as those who reside under the same roof. Likewise, those people residing in the Canary Islands who return to their family unit during the period of this Agreement will be considered cohabiting.

This will not apply to the provisions of the section relating to Specific measures for hotel and restaurant activities, and terraces, bars and cafes.

During gatherings to celebrate Christmas lunches and dinners on December 24, 25 and 31, 2020, and January 1, 2021, the maximum number of 6 people must not be exceeded, except in the case of cohabitants, nor the number maximum of three family units.

In any case, it is recommended that these gatherings be made up of members who belong to the same coexistence group, trying not to exceed the two coexistence groups and special precaution and care must be taken with the people most vulnerable to COVID-19.

Curfew: Limitation of the movement of people at night, from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.

The freedom of movement of people at night is limited from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. every day, except for Christmas Eve, which is delayed until 12.30 a.m., and for New Year's Eve, which is delayed until 1 a.m., exclusively for the return to your usual address.

This limitation is excepted for the realization of essential activities, contained in article 5 of Royal Decree-Law 926/2020, of October 25. These activities are: the acquisition of medicines, sanitary products and other essential goods; assistance to health centers, services and establishments; assistance to veterinary care centers for emergency reasons; the fulfillment of labor, professional, business, institutional or legal obligations; the return to the place of habitual residence after carrying out some of the planned activities; assistance and care for the elderly, minors, dependents, people with disabilities or especially vulnerable people; cause of force majeure or situation of need; any other activity of a similar nature, duly accredited, or refueling at gas stations or service stations, when it is necessary to carry out the activities set forth in the preceding paragraphs.

Emblematic religious celebrations

Emblematic religious celebrations, such as the Misa del Gallo (Mass on Christmas Eve), may be celebrated at times that fit in with the curfew, although it is recommended to offer online or television services as an alternative, as well as to avoid singing and 
use prerecorded music, choirs being prohibited.

Likewise, physical displays of devotion or tradition (kisses, contact on images, sculptures) should be avoided, replacing them with others that do not imply a health risk.

Measures related to large events

Parties, festivals, fairs, fair attractions or other similar events may not be held, nor may mass events already authorized or subject to prior authorization in accordance with the provisions of section 2.1.11 of the Government Agreement of June 19, 2020 and its successive updates.

The night-time closure of parks, outdoor recreation areas or public roads is recommended, in order to avoid crowds and the consumption of alcohol.

Measures in the workplace

As far as possible, remote work will be promoted and prioritized in all activities that do not require physical presence.

Measures for hotels, restaurants and terraces, bars and cafes

Interior areas will remain closed, except for those of health centers, those of work centers for the consumption of their staff and those of tourist accommodation establishments for the exclusive use of guests on an accommodation basis, with a distance of at least 2 meters between adjoining table chairs and with a maximum occupancy per table of 4 people.

Consumption at the bar, buffet or self-service is prohibited and the maximum capacity in these interior areas will be 33%.

The service of collecting food and beverages on the premises and the delivery at home is allowed.

On the terraces or other open-air spaces of the establishment, it is forbidden to consume at the bar, the buffet or self-service service and smoking, as well as the performance of activities that encourage not maintaining interpersonal safety distance or not using masks such as party favors, dances, karaokes, etc.

You may not exceed 50% of the authorized capacity in outdoor terraces, with a distance of at least 2 meters between adjacent tables and chairs and with a maximum occupancy per table of 4 people.

These measures will also be applicable to any establishment or activity that offers food or beverage service as a complement to the main activity carried out.

Retail establishments and business premises, plus shopping centers

In retail establishments and commercial premises, 33% of their total capacity may not be exceeded, and the resulting capacity must allow the maintenance of interpersonal safety distances at all times. In the case of establishments or premises distributed over several floors, the above limitations must be met in each of them.

In the case of shopping centers and parks, the capacity of the common areas will be limited to 33% of the authorized capacity, being prohibited the use of recreational areas such as children's areas, toy libraries or rest areas, which must remain closed.

In the case of shopping centers distributed over several floors, the above limitation must be met in each of them.

Furthermore, in shopping centers and parks, clients will not be allowed to stay in common areas except for transit or waiting to access the establishments. This restriction does not affect authorized hotel and restaurant activities that take place in common outdoor areas, which must comply with the provisions of section 7.

Necessary measures must be established to allow the maintenance of the interpersonal safety distance and the control of capacity, both in the premises and establishments and in the common areas of shopping centers, being able to limit the capacity of the spaces destined to parking lots if necessary. vehicles by 50%.

A preferential service will be provided to people over 75 years of age, such as priority access, reservation of parking or payment boxes, rest seats, which ensure said preference in care. The existence of the preferential attention service must be clearly indicated in said establishments and premises.

Hospital centers and social health care centers for the elderly

Given the verification of outbreaks associated with health care in hospitals and social health care centers, the following restrictions are established during the period of validity of these measures: external visits to hospital centers are suspended except in the case of minors under age, pregnant women, accompanying people at the end of life and those other clinical situations that are considered necessary at the discretion of the physician.

In social health care centers where older people reside (nursing homes), given the vulnerability of this population, the exits of residents outside the centers and external visits are suspended, except in the case of accompanying people in the end of life.

Those patients who are confirmed cases with resolved infection will be exempt from this limitation.

In addition to the protection measures established by the Occupational Risk Prevention Services of each center or establishment, it is recommended, during the period of validity of these measures, the use of FFP2 type masks and face shields by all employees. Personnel who have direct care with patients in these centers or establishments, as well as reinforce frequent ventilation in the facilities where workers, patients and residents are located.

Gaming and betting establishments and premises

Gambling casinos, bingo halls, recreational and gaming halls, external betting venues and other premises and facilities similar to those for recreational gaming and betting activities will remain closed.

Practice of non-professional sports activity and physical exercise

The practice of physical and sports activity in the interior areas of sports facilities and centers is prohibited, while the practice of sports activity and physical exercise in the open air may be carried out individually and provided that the interpersonal safety distance of 2 meters can be maintained. permanently.

Team sports or those practices or exercises in which the maintenance of said distance cannot be guaranteed at all times may not be practiced.

In the case of individual sport in the open air, the use of the mask will be excepted exclusively during the sport and provided that the maintenance of the distance of two meters with other people can be guaranteed.

In outdoor sports facilities and centers, the use of a mask will only be excepted for the performance of sports that require the use of specific courts such as tennis or athletics, exclusively during the performance of said activities and provided that the maximum occupancy of the track conforms to the rules of the game or sport and that the interpersonal distance of 2 meters can be maintained permanently.


It is recommended that all people arriving on any of the islands of the Canary Archipelago from the island of Tenerife, excluding those under six years of age, undergo a screening in the terms established in the Order of the Minister of Health of December 14, 2020.

Shelters, juvenile centers and prisons

Given the verification of outbreaks in these closed establishments, it is recommended during the period of validity of these measures to carry out frequent screening of workers and users of these establishments.

In addition, reinforce frequent ventilation in the facilities where workers and residents are located. The training of workers in preventive measures against the transmission of the virus will be reinforced.

Regular public land passenger transport

In the regular public land passenger transport its capacity is reduced to 50%.

Surveillance of urban land transportation will be reinforced at peak times, in order to avoid crowds. During peak hours, avoid using public transport for non-essential or postponed trips.

It is recommended to increase the frequency of public transport schedules to avoid crowds, guaranteeing adequate ventilation and compliance with preventive measures, which include not eating or drinking and using the mask correctly.

It is recommended that alternative methods of mobility be used for travel, such as cycling or walking.

Public roads

The municipalities will ensure compliance with the measures aimed at avoiding crowds and alcohol consumption on public roads, in addition to the rest of the approved prevention and containment measures necessary to face the health crisis caused by COVID-19.

Carnaval Queen in Santa Cruz de Tenerife 2006

Carnaval Queen in Santa Cruz de Tenerife 2006, Neólida Hernández Martín

With the announcement that the one carnival gala in 2021 will choose Guardians of the Sceptre until Carnival 2022, from among carnival queens of the last 20 years of the Santa Cruz Carnival, we took that as a perfect excuse to take another look at them.

Carnival Queen in Santa Cruz de Tenerife in 2006, Neólida Hernández Martín in a costume entitled "El Carro de la Gloria" (The Chariot of Glory), designed by Juan Carlos Armas and representing Grupo AC Bingo Colombófilo.

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Carnival Queen in Santa Cruz de Tenerife 2005

Carnival Queen in Santa Cruz de Tenerife 2005, Ana María Pérez Meneses

With the announcement that the one carnival gala in 2021 will choose Guardians of the Sceptre until Carnival 2022, from among carnival queens of the last 20 years of the Santa Cruz Carnival, we took that as a perfect excuse to take another look at them.

Carnival Queen in Santa Cruz de Tenerife in 2005 was Ana María Pérez Meneses in a costume entitled "Rozando la piel del cielo" (Touching the skin of the sky), designed by Juan Carlos Armas and representing Centro Comercial Alcampo.

Friday, December 18, 2020

The order requiring a negative COVID-19 test to enter the Canary Islands from Friday

Negative COVID-19 test required to enter the Canary Islands from Friday

The Official Gazette of the Canary Islands (BOC) published Tuesday the Ministry of Health order that requires each traveler who comes from another autonomous community, either by plane or boat, to provide a negative Covid-19 test carried out 72 hours before the trip. 

The measure, from which children under six years of age are excluded, will come into effect this Friday 18 December and will last until January 10, and its non-compliance will be sanctioned through Decree 14/2020 approved on September 4.

The Canarian Government allows three types of tests in this situation; PCR, antigen test and TMA, and in the case of Canarian residents, it will be paid for by the regional Executive if it is carried out in one of the laboratories with the that agreements have been signed - the rest of the travelers will have to assume the cost themselves.

If the traveler does not perform the test before arriving on the islands, they must isolate and perform another within 72 hours and remain isolated until they test negative or receive the epidemiological discharge - the results will be sent to the Canarian health service via email.

If they persistently refuse to take the test, the traveler must remain in isolation for 14 days at their residence, regardless of the sanctions that may be imposed.

Passengers in transit and tourists staying in regulated accommodation are excluded from this order - they are already affected by another previously approved decree.

In addition, the following are exempt from isolation; health workers in labor displacement, transporters, patients traveling for imperative medical reasons, those assisting as dependents, workers of the sea in transit, crew of ships and airplanes, journalists in professional practice and public representatives, diplomats and staff of international organizations whose physical presence is essential for the organization of activities.

[NB: With the news that Tenerife will close for 15 days on Saturday, this order will apply in the other islands, but in Tenerife only on Friday and maybe from 3 January, if the closure is then lifted.]

Closure of Tenerife will not affect tourists who will be able to enter and exit

Tenerife South Airport

The president of the Canary Islands, Ángel Víctor Torres, has assured that the new more restrictive measures that will prevent entering or leaving the island and that will be applied in Tenerife as of midnight this Friday do not affect the arrival of foreign tourists and for which the regional decree of urgent measures for tourism will continue to apply.

The Government has clarified that the sanitary controls for COVID-19 for Tenerife, applicable from Saturday, December 19 to January 1, 2021 (incl.), does not affect the entry of tourists, who may continue to visit the entire Canary Islands and, of course, Tenerife with a PCR test, or negative equivalent to stay in regulated tourist establishments.

Torres made these comments after an online interview with tour operator TUI who have communicated that they plan to bring 100,000 tourists to the Canary Islands this month.

The Canary Islands remain interested in the European tourist demand according to the information provided this Thursday by the largest tour operator in the world, the German company, TUI, in a meeting held electronically with President Ángel Víctor Torres and the Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, Yaiza Castilla.

According to the CEO of Hotels & Resorts, Cruises, Destination Experiences and Contracting of TUI, Sebastian Ebel, the forecast of tourist activity with the Canary Islands in December is to move 100,000 people, a figure that represents between 60 and 70 percent of the usual in that month for this operator in conditions without COVID-19.

Ebel based this good forecast on the rhythm of the reservations made for this last period of the year, the Presidency of the Government has indicated in a statement.

The purpose of the meeting was to monitor the situation on the islands, especially regarding the latest decisions taken that affect mobility and entry conditions to the archipelago, as well as the analysis of the international tourism situation of this tour operator of German origin. 

Thursday, December 17, 2020

First Maid of Honour to the Carnival Queen in Santa Cruz de Tenerife 2020

First Maid of Honour: María José Chinea Cabrera

First Maid of Honour to the Carnival Queen in Santa Cruz de Tenerife in 2020 was María José Chinea Cabrera, with the costume ‘Un nuevo amanecer’ (A new dawn), designed by Jorge González Santana, sponsored by bottled water brand Fuentealta.

There will be no Carnival in Santa Cruz de Tenerife in 2021, although the City Council is working with the Carnival groups in the design of some activities that can maintain the spirit of the festivities during the weeks in which it should have been celebrated

María José Chinea Cabrera | Gala Reina del Carnaval | S/C Tenerife 2020

Tenerife will close for 15 days on Saturday

Tenerife is closed for the next 15 days

The measures are to be hardened in Tenerife from this weekend, to stop the spread of COVID-19. From Saturday you won't be able to go out for coffee with a friend; only people you already live with. Christmas lunches and dinners are reduced to 6 people and the curfew is brought forward to 10:00 p.m.

The president of the Canary Islands, Ángel Víctor Torres, in a press conference yesterday afternoon, says Tenerife will be closed for the next 15 days, both for entry and exit. President of the Tenerife Island Council, Pedro Martín, expressed through social networks that "the new measures taken today are tough, but very necessary to tackle the virus."

These measures come into effect from Friday night (Saturday 19 December at 00:00). We calculate they will therefore remain in force until Saturday 1 January 2021, inclusive.

Here is a summary:
  • The start of curfew is brought forward to 10pm.
  • The activity of restaurants, cafes and bars inside the premises is suspended. Terraces can open, but only with 50% of their capacity. Only people who already live together can share a table. Food delivery service is maintained.
  • The capacity of shopping centers is reduced by 33% per floor and parking spaces in shopping centers are reduced by 50%.
  • The perimeter of Tenerife is closed, both incoming and outgoing, except for essential trips detailed in the declaration of the state of alarm. (The tourist board later confirmed that the decree by the Canary Islands Government didn’t apply to holidaymakers because of existing regulations approved in October)
  • All indoor and outdoor sports are suspended. Only individual sports can be carried out. (There will be more detailed info after the publication of the BOC).
  • All mass events are suspended (including fairs, markets, etc ...)
  • Recommendation not to travel between municipalities.
  • The elderly will not be permitted to leave residences for Christmas.
  • 50% reduction in urban and metropolitan public transport.
  • In Tenerife, the number of guests at lunches and dinners at home during the next 15 days that these measures will be in force remains at 4, except on December 24, 25 and 31, and January 1, which will rise to 6 people (instead of 10 for the rest of islands) and a maximum of 2 separate family units.