I love animals so in January I am in my element as there are two romerias where animals are the main attraction.
There is generally an assumption that to see a genuine slice of Canarian life you have to go to the north of the island, but not so. The first romeria of the year, the feast of San Antonio Abad is celebrated across the island but the romeria in Arona is a particularly grand affair that lasts for a whole week. This traditional festivity is the second oldest of the district.
San Antonio Abad is patron saint of animals and although his feast day is the 17th, the main event of the celebrations takes place on the nearest Sunday to the date. After morning mass the saint’s statue is carried shoulder high down the main streets of the town and all along the route they bless the cattle and offer prizes for the best.
Once the official blessing is over, residents dressed in traditional costumes, accompanied by folk groups and the town band, sing and dance to popular Canary songs. If you are in Tenerife I highly recommend a visit if you want to see beautifully decorated wagons drawn by oxen, enjoy an abundance of food being tossed into the crowd, visit kiosks selling beer, wine and food all crammed into the narrow streets of Arona just 15 minutes from the popular tourist resorts.
The next tradition to be celebrated is one of the oldest in South Tenerife and commemorates the patron saint of farmers. Every January 20th, the people of Adeje honour San Sebastian the protector of animals against pests and disease. After a traditional mass and blessing the effigy of the saint is carried on the shoulders of the parishioners in a very special pilgrimage through the streets of the village to the beach of La Enramada in La Caleta on the Adeje coast. This event has been attended by up to 30,000 people both young and old, tourists and residents of the island who all gather to see the traditional bathing of the horses.
Parking is almost impossible, so if you wish to visit one of these popular events I would recommend checking the times of the local bus service HERE
This is a video of last years event added to Youtube by the Ayuntamiento of Adeje and if you know who you are looking for OH can be seen at around the 3 min. mark !!