The pilgrimages, called romerías, of Tenerife are certainly the highest expression of Canarian idiosyncrasy. People dressed in traditional costumes (many hand-woven and embroidered) accompany ox carts decorated with great attention to detail, distributing traditional delicacies to all passers-by. Music in each corner, sounds created by unique instruments of the Canaries… Join us!
Origin of the pilgrimages in Tenerife
The romerías arise from religious pilgrimages, made first to Rome (hence the term “romería”). But then they brought it to each municipality making the pilgrimage towards the church or Saint.
In Tenerife, the oldest celebration not only of the Island but of the entire archipelago is the “Romería del Socorro”. It is celebrated in the municipality Güímar in September and comes from the Guanche era. When the aborigines found the Virgin of Candelaria, the Mencey (King) Acaymo decided to carry the statue and had to ask for help, as it was not transportable because of its weight.
Today the pilgrimages have evolved to be an effusive expression of the Canarian people. Chácaras (percussion musical instrument), carts, traditional dresses and typical dishes mark the beat of any celebration, to which the locals usually decorate their balconies with elements and pennants.
Romerías in Tenerife of special tourist interest
On our island there are an infinity of pilgrimages, each with its own character and identity. However, some of our celebrations stand out and have been awarded the title “Fiestas of National Tourist Interest”. These are for example: the Fiesta de las Cruces and Fuegos de Mayo in Los Realejos (although this is not a pilgrimage) and the Octava del Corpus and Romería of San Isidro in La Orotava.
Other noteworthy romerías of the island are: the Romería of San Isidro Labrador (in Los Realejos), the Romería of San Agustín, the Romería of San Roque, the Romería of San Benito Abad and the Romería of the district La Florida, which premiered this year the distinctive “Fiesta of Regional Tourist Interest”.
Pilgrimage calendar of Tenerife 2019
In May starts the romería season on the island. Most of these festivals take place until September, although they are celebrated all year round. If you are looking for a complete calendar of pilgrimages in 2019, Casa de los Balcones has created an updated calendar with all the important dates and celebrations, although here we summarise the most important festivals:
Romería of San Marcos in Tegueste
The event will be celebrated this year on Sunday, May 5th. It is one of the most popular romerías in Tenerife. Thousands of locals and visitors come together to see the famous carts that populate the streets of Tegueste. Last year 80,000 people participated in the romería.
Pilgrimage of San Isidro Labrador in Los Realejos
Since the seventeenth century, this festival is celebrated in the municipality of Los Realejos. Documents from 1676 confirm that the peasants worshiped the saintly figure of San Isidro Labrador. Nowadays, the event is a “Fiesta of National Tourist Interest” and a very special day for the locals. This year it will be celebrated on June 2nd from 12:00 pm in the Parich of the Apostle Santiago.
Pilgrimage of San Isidro in La Orotava
84 carts crowned one of Tenerife’s most multitudinous pilgrimages last year. This year, the “Fiesta of National Tourist Interest” will also be celebrated on June 30th. In addition, it celebrates 83 years of history paying homage to San Isidro Labrador and Santa María de la Cabeza.
Pilgrimage of San Benito Abad in La Laguna
On July 14th, one of the most important festivals will take place in the municipality of the UNESCO World Heritage Site: the pilgrimage of San Benito Abad in La Laguna. Around 43,000 people gathered at this popular celebration last year. In total, more than 55 carts participated, demonstrating their status as a “Festival of National Tourist Interest”.
There are many more events, but that would go beyond this blog post. Therefore, do not forget to check our calendar to be informed about all news and events.