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The wineries open for San Andrés in Tenerife

Wine tasting, Icod de los Vinos, Tenerife. Photo: Viktor Kirilko Some rights reserved

Every November 29, Tenerife celebrates the eve of San Andrés (Saint Andrew's Day). And on the eve the wineries open in a traditional festival, that, at least in principle, has nothing to do with wine. We know that he's the Patron Saint of Scotland, land of whiskey, whose flag, it shares with Tenerife.

Correr los Cacharro (Run the Pots) on the eve of San Andrés: Part of the festivities in honor of San Andrés held in the La Orotava Valley and other towns in the north of the island of Tenerife, but mainly in Icod de los Vinos and Puerto de la Cruz, children and young people, after spending days collecting scrap (cans, even appliances, bathtubs, scrap metal and any old object that makes noise) string them up and at nightfall on November 29, go out to the streets, and make as much noise as possible. This festival is closely related to the opening of the wineries, and it is traditional to accompany the new wine with roasted chestnuts and sardines or other salty fish.

The real origin of this practice is lost in time and most explanations are the fruit of legend. It is said that the object of running pots was to make noise to drive away plagues of locusts, or witches; also that since San Andrés was lame, he arrived "drunk" and loaded with pots days late to his party; or that San Andrés fell asleep and had to be awakened by the noise of the pots ... But the one that has the most weight and reported by researchers is that on the eve of the day of San Andrés, the owners of the wineries, in order to be able to bring in the new wine, would go down to the coast to clean the barrels with salt water, and the noise of the barrels on the cobbled streets as they were rolled down the slopes to the seashore, is the characteristic noise that the children later reproduce with their cacharros.

This festival was most popular at the end of the 70s and in the 80s, but had been lost in many towns, although some neighbourhood associations, with the support of city councils are trying to preserve it. Currently the Ministry of Education of the Canary Islands, offers information about these festivals to that those who wish to celebrate it. They carry out this activity in many schools throughout the island of Tenerife, with the students going out into the streets and encouraging the residents to participate in such an unique event.

In Puerto de la Cruz, the fiesta focus is in the Plaza del Charco, where you can also taste delicious roasted chestnuts with salted fish, sweet potatoes and 'new wine that makes you forget the night cold'.

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