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Saturday, January 29, 2022

History of San Antonio Abad in Tenerife

Parranda of folklore singers at the romería (pilgrimage) in Buenavista del Norte

The fiestas of San Antonio Abad (Saint Anthony the Abbot) usually provide a welcome respite from the [OK relative in Tenerife] cold of January and some fun to enliven the days between Christmas and Easter. Of course, this year, as last, such festivals and events cannot be held and we can merely keep the memory of these events alive.

Several towns: La Matanza de Acentejo, Buenavista del Norte, the neighbourhood of San Juan in Tacoronte and the neighbourhood of La Florida in La Orotava, as well as in Los Silos, and Arona and Güímar, under normal circumstances, hold events every year in honor of the patron saint and protector of animals, San Antonio "el del cochino" ('him of the pig', as the image of the saint is often accompanied by a porcine figure).

The festive day begins in all these towns with cattle fairs and the traditional blessing of the cattle. In the Matanza it takes place in the very old Octava Ganadera de Acentejo.

The Octava Ganadera de San Antonio, in the district of San Antonio, La Matanza De Acentejo, is one of the oldest traditions on the island. The image of the saint that gives its name to this Matanzas neighbourhood is considered as the first to arrive on the island shortly after the end of the conquest of Tenerife.

In the last years of the celebration, Buenavista del Norte also organized a livestock fair with nearly 600 heads of cattle in the Las Marinas area and, later, a pilgrimage.

In Buenavista they point to the origin of their livestock tradition being in the year 1528, the date on which the beginning of religious events around the image of the saint is marked, according to studies collected in the publication 'San Antonio Abad y su festividad' (Saint Anthony Abbot and his Festivity), by the historian Álvaro Hernández Yanes, who, in turn, dates the beginning of the modern romería (pilgrimage) in that town to 1979.

In Tacoronte, in the neighbourhood of San Juan, an image of San Antonio Abad - also, surprise, surprise 'believed to have been the first to reach the island after the conquest' - is venerated on the main altarpiece of its chapel of the same name, a sculpture that although at first glance appears to be of modern production, some researchers, based on the repainting and its characteristics, date to the 17th Century, while the glass eyes were added, probably in the 18th Century. The figure wears a curious silver diadem. One of the Island's most traditional pilgrimages devoted to San Antonio Abad, starts at this chapel. 

The festivals of La Florida are also famous in Tenerife, in La Orotava here the tradition of the Gran Puchero and the pilgrimage stand out. This pilgrimage in honor of San Antonio Abad and the Virgen de La Esperanza began to be celebrated in 1981.

San Antonio Abad es celebrado en cuatro localidades del norte de Tenerife

Meanwhile, here are more photos from a long ago livestock fair and romería in Buenavista del Norte. Can't tell you which year, but it's pre-digital and almost certainly before 2004.

Nobody told him that 'drunk in charge' applies to all road users.