After more than 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's where to see future updates.

Día de Finados (The Canarian Halloween)

Halloween on the Islands of the Dogs? Maybe not.

On the eve of All Saints' Day, ancestral traditions are revived throughout the Canary Islands, but there's controversy: our customs versus imported customs, such as Halloween? All Saints' Day is known as Día de Finados - "finados" means "deceased" - known as Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) in Mexico

Día de Finados is celebrated in the archipelago from October 31 to November 2. The word "finados" which means "deceased" refers to a popular Canarian festival that was celebrated on the eves of All Saints' Day (Nov 1) and All Souls' Day (Nov 2). It was customary to worship the deceased and offer suffrages to the souls.

Formerly, for Fiesta de los Finaos, during the eve of this day, friends and family would gather to watch over the deceased while they told stories about those people, tales and jokes. The debates lasted into the night while they ate the typical fruits of the time: chestnuts, walnuts, apples from the country and sweets; accompanying such food with anise or ron miel (honey rum), depending on the area, to warm up between the icy temperatures [relatively] of the autumn season. 

Currently the Finados are still celebrated in rural areas to the sound of timples and guitars, accompanied by drinks and abundant meals.

Another custom during these dates was the popular "Pan por Dios" (Bread for God), when bakers gave an additional loaf as a gift to thank their most loyal customers, to which they responded upon receiving it "May God increase it for you". This tradition, lost over time, is, in some places, trying to recover.

In certain towns in the north of Tenerife, such as San Juan de la Rambla or La Guancha, a ritual called “Los Santitos” (The Little Saints) is celebrated. On the morning of November 1, the youngest go around the neighbourhood with a basket in hand and knock, going door-to-door asking: "¿Hay Santitos?" (Are there any Santitos?), so inhabitants of the town offered them almonds, walnuts, dried figs or chestnuts. Today, nuts are mainly replaced by treats and sweets.

Another Canarian tradition at this time are the enrame de papel picado (cut paper decorations), a tradition that in some towns dates back to the 17th century and consisted of decorating religious buildings and the routes where the procession passes, with branches of various plants such as beech, basil, rosemary or palms. Over time, cut tissue paper began to be used in different shapes and colours. This tradition has lost strength but in some Canarian neighbourhoods such as Las Candias or La Luz in La Orotava it has begun to recover.

This articlePor qué no a 'Halloween' (Why not Halloween?) says that "the streets of the islands see more and more children each year in costumes of horrible witches, ghosts, monsters, black cats, vampires with sharpened teeth and widows with huge wigs ... with blood stained clothes, drawings of spiders' webs, lips and nails painted black. The dear little children of the Canary Islands become a part of the dismal antithesis of the colourful and fun Carnaval. They don't have much idea of why they are celebrating it, but by the look and the result, it can't be anything good." Opinion is that it is just a commercial event. (Ironic really when prices of flowers are higher for All Saints Day, even than those of Valentine's in Spain and the Canary Islands.) Worse they claim it's becoming linked to the occult, death and truly sinister things. 

Tenerife Land of Eternal Christmas

Sunbathing SantaDesert Island ChristmasScuba Diving SantaTropical Santa
Santa's Having a Whale of a TimeSurfing SantaWaterski SantaCamel Rodeo Santa
With a wide range of products in each design, click the pics (above) to see the full selections.