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What are some of the Canary Islands Summer fiestas in Tenerife?

Updated on September 6, 2015

Festivals are free in Tenerife and happen all year round

One of the wonderful things about living on the holiday destination of Tenerife in the Canary Islands is the vast number of religious festivals or fiestas that are celebrated around the island. In fact if you know where to go it is likely you can find some such festivity going on nearly every day of the year, or it certainly seems like it!

The island has a mainly Catholic population and there are many saints. The Virgin Mary gets different names and titles but always you can see who she is because she holds a baby Jesus. In the basilica in Candelaria she is a Black Madonna. As La Virgen del Carmen she is white.

Photos of San Juan night and the Fiesta del Carmen

Beach on the night of San Juan
Beach on the night of San Juan
San Marcos beach on the night of San Juan
San Marcos beach on the night of San Juan
Festive decorations
Festive decorations
Firedancers
Firedancers
Brass band at Fiesta del Carmen celebrations
Brass band at Fiesta del Carmen celebrations
The faithful follow San Telmo
The faithful follow San Telmo
Fiestas del Carmen stage
Fiestas del Carmen stage
San Marcos bay at night at the Fiesta del Carmen
San Marcos bay at night at the Fiesta del Carmen
La Virgen del Carmen
La Virgen del Carmen

National holidays in Tenerife

The festivals are often national holidays when banks and work places close but there are others that last for several days. In the villages and towns and cities there are processions held and the streets are decorated in colourful streamers, floral displays and palm leaves. Usually there is entertainment on a stage area and this includes singers and music as well as dancing. Food and drink is often available and given out and the accent is on having fun. Firework displays usually end the day's celebrations.

Night of San Juan in Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife

Festivals in Tenerife poll

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St John's Night or Noche de San Juan

The summer has several big festivals with the midsummer fiesta of San Juan (St John) being one of the biggest celebrations on the island. Bonfires are lit on the night of 23rd June all over the island and beach parties take place. Many revellers go bathing in the sea, which is believed to wash away evil spirits. Other people jump over the fires and this is thought to have the same effect.

Some of the Catholic rituals have got intermixed with Guanche customs. The Guanches were the tribal people who lived here before they were conquered by the Spanish. One of the odd customs that is still carried on today is the midnight bathing of flocks of goats in the sea.

On the night of San Juan some people dress as Guanches, painting their faces and blowing conch shells.

As I write the Fiestas del Carmen are still going on for the second week where I live. The Virgen del Carmen and San Telmo (St Elmo) get taken from the church on the 16th July and given a boat trip and because they are patrons for the fishermen this is believed to bring good luck.

It certainly brings the people together to have a good time!

Tenerife, Canary Islands

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