Monday, 19 January 2009

Going Native at Fiestas on Tenerife

It’ll surprise no-one when I say that Tenerife is a party island. However I don’t mean because of Playa de Las Américas with its clubs and cabaret bars where the likes of Tina Turner and Rod Stewart never grow old thanks to a continuous stream of sound-alikes (Ironically it’s all becoming a bit surreal as the real Rod is due to play on Tenerife in May and Joe Cawley has heard that Tina Turner amongst others may follow suite).

I’m referring to the seemingly never ending succession of parties which take place in the towns and villages throughout the year…the fiestas.

There are hundreds of these; even the smallest town will celebrate any number of them over the course of a year. One municipality, Los Realejos, claims that their 80 plus fiestas are more than anywhere else in Spain.

Every municipality likes to be that little bit different from their neighbours, so as well as the traditional romerías (harvest type processions) you get weird and wonderful affairs that involve half drowning goats, mass midnight bathing, insulting giant hearts, pirates attacking landlocked towns on boats on wheels, cross dressing widows mourning a giant sardine and firework battles between opposing streets to name but a few. Many of these wonderful fiestas take place completely off the radar screen of the average tourist.

Some of the local authorities on Tenerife aren’t the greatest at promoting their fiestas, especially outside the confines of each municipality. There’s a sort of philosophy that everybody knows what’s going on; fiestas happen at pretty much the same time every year after all. As a result, although all the locals know what’s happening and when, visitors can often be left in the dark.

When we first moved to Tenerife we constantly missed the best bits of local fiestas because of this, or found ourselves standing on the fringes looking enviously at the merrymaking in front of our eyes wishing we could be part of it.
What we’ve learned the hard way over the last five years has gone into ‘Going Native in Tenerife’ so that others don’t miss out.

Every decent guidebook lists the ‘must see’ fiestas on Tenerife. ‘Going Native in Tenerife’ is no different in this respect, but where it does differ is that we’ve actually been to all the fiestas listed and have included tips about how to get the most enjoyment out of each.
Most books will advise where visitors can watch fiestas. ‘Going Native in Tenerife’ helps visitors become part of them.

There’s a world of difference

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